5 ways to have an eco-friendly Christmas in the UAE
From vegan meals to cruelty-free beauty products – we're going to have a green Christmas
It's easy to get carried away at Christmas: come Boxing Day, we'll all end up with reams of wrapping paper, loads of leftovers and a plethora of plastic-laden gifts. But if you follow these five easy tips, you won't need to worry about potentially doubling your carbon footprint before the year is out.
1. Pass on giving a card
There's nothing quite like getting a lovely handwritten note scrawled inside a gorgeous festive card, but buying a bunch of new ones that are wrapped in plastic every year isn't exactly helping the planet. Why not make your own with some recycled materials and crafty bits and pieces? Alternatively, you could always send an e-card. The internet is full of sites just waiting to help you out with that. One of our favourites is Jib Jab, as you can incorporate pictures of loved ones' faces into hilarious animations.
2. Great green gifts
Sustainability-focused shops are on the rise in the UAE, and you can source some fantastic presents from them this festive season. You could pick up some pre-loved fashions at Retold in Dubai, for example. It's the city's only permanent second-hand clothes store, and there's some seriously great stuff to be found if you have the patience to rifle through the racks. For the foodie in your life, head to Wild & The Moon or Greenheart Organic Farms – to name just two – where gourmet, plant-based or organic gifts await.
Eco-warriors will surely appreciate something from The Green Ecostore, which sells keep-cups, environmental slogan tees and bamboo cutlery galore. There is a great selection of hampers, too.
3. Wrap it up thoughtfully
Previously, we'd feverishly tear open gifts, leaving the carefully picked out wrapping paper in a pile to be forever forgotten (by everyone except the family member who has to clear it all up, of course). No more. Now, we can buy biodegradable or recycled wrapping paper (you can find some from Ace) or even make use of old newspapers and magazines lying around the house. We could also try and rip carefully, and keep this year's wrapping and gift bags to reuse again in 2019.
4. Cruelty-free pampering
Most of us like to look our best at Christmas (unless you're one of those people who refuse to remove your pyjamas). If you're in the UAE, you can head over to The Organic Glow Beauty Lounge for pre-party pampering. The country's first green spa boasts eco-friendly interiors and uses organic, cruelty-free, all-natural products in its treatments. A gift card for the beauty queen in your life wouldn't go amiss, either.
Speaking of, if you are picking up some beauty products for gifts this season, why not double check whether or not they're kind to the planet before purchasing? Brands like Lush, The Body Shop and L'Occitane are great options, and they don't test on animals, either. You could also gift someone with the UAE's first subscription box for cruelty-free, organic beauty products, from My Green Treat.
5. Food for thought
Many of us know by now that cutting out foods that are produced in factory farms is eco-friendly. So why not incorporate a few vegan dishes in your Christmas Day spread? There are so many plant-based alternatives available now, there's really no excuse. Carrefour and Lulu Hypermarket are particularly well-stocked, while Souq Planet in Abu Dhabi is known as a vegan haven. Alternatively, if a free-from feast is not your idea of a merry Christmas, at least opt for organic meat, as farming practices are far more sustainable. Head to Organic Foods & Cafe for your fill of planet-friendly cuts.
Finally, whether you decide to eat plants or feast on meat, try and cut down your food waste as much as possible. Attempt to buy loose items or products that don't use too much plastic, and then get creative with any leftovers instead of just binning them. If you find you can't come up with something clever to do with your food scraps, then try composting. In the UAE, you can get the latest gear from My Green Chapter.
Updated: December 20, 2018 12:04 PM