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An Eco-Friendly and Responsible Christmas

Christmas is a magical time whether you believe in Santa Claus or not. There is festive spirit in the air- the decorated show windows, illuminated streets and avenues, heavy duty shopping, animations, family get-together, celebrations and gifts.

 

Danish Christmas Tree

© Malene Thyssen. Creative Commons Attribution

All this is not without its impact on the environment as the days following Christmas turn out to be heavily charged for garbage collectors what with gift wrapping and other packagings of Xmas gifts and of course, the Christmas tree itself.

 

Christmas Tree

The 1000 odd Christmas trees that decorate Paris in various public places are purpose grown in the nurseries of Jura (in French Alps) to cater to this need. These trees do not come at the cost of deforestation. While buying a natural Christmas tree, buy one in the pot so that you can replant and reuse it year after year ! Since 2002, Swedish furniture giant Ikea in France proposes the project 'Agir à la racine' (act at the roots) to its clients in France. For each Nordman christman tree bought at 20€ from Ikea stores after 1st December, Ikea reimburses 19€ to its clients who bring back the tree in the month of January. In addition, 1€ is given to the National Forest Office (l’Office national des forêts). In a few years, more than 1,250,000€
have been donated for 30 different projects such as restoration of public forests, day out in forest for children and seniors. Contact your nearest Ikea for details.

Opt for natural and sustainable decorations such as wooden baubles, fruits and fir cones. You can make your own decorations with modelling clay, colourful paper chains, felt and give a personal and creative touch to your Christmas tree. What to do once the festive fun is over and its unbearable to keep picking up the spines down the tree, discard the tree ? NGOs such as Handicap International sell biodegradable bags that can also be composted for packing Christmas trees before leaving them on the side walks. In 2010, HI collected 700,000 Euros by sale of such bags to support its short and long term projects for rehabilitation and reintegration of handicapped people in to the society.

Paris municipality encourages people to 'recycle' their Christmas trees under the operation 'Offrez une deuxième vie à votre sapin' (Give a second life to your Christmas tree). People can drop off their Christmas trees at any of the collection points installed in over 95 parks and gardens across the city. Parks that participate in the recycling efforts are Monceau (8th arrondisement), at Belleville (20th), des Buttes-Chaumont (19th) and at Montsouris (14th). The Christmas trees thus recycled are crushed to chips and used for compost. More than 15,000 Christmas trees were recycled in 2008. Find the drop-off point closest to you (updating soon).

 

Gifts

Stand apart from the crowd and present your loved ones unique gifts such as a chance to discover a new activity, a trip for two or even magazine subscriptions.

  • Tickets for concerts, shows, theatre, museums, amusement parks etc.
  • Subscription/ renewal of subscription for mobile, video library, library, course of dance, music, cooking, yoga, magazine etc.
  • A session of massage, reflexology, shiatsu, spa, thalasso therapy etc.
  • Gift coupons from supermarkets and hypermarkets.
  • Organic or home made products- jams, cookies, Glühwine etc.
  • Subscription to organic vegetable and fruits baskets through AMAP, Le Campanier etc.
  • Products that promote conservation of environment: low consumption lamps, rechargeable cells, water filters etc.
  • Handmade or hand crafted items.
  • Other gift ideas and boutique addresses from our article Organic and Fair Trade Shopping.
  • Gift vouchers from Wonderbox, Smartbox, Happytime etc. that offer loads of choices for discovering activities or travel getaways for one or more persons.
  • Visit the on from 9th-11th December 2011.

There are so many more such ideas that one can apply to contributing towards our environment. If you have a great eco-friendly gift idea or a tip that you use or would like to share, we will include it here with due credits to you. Please write to contact [at] indiansinsparis.com. Let us not forget to reuse or recycle the gift wrapping paper, envelops and other packing material.

 

Lights in the city of lights

Paris is slowly shifting its environmental radar to include increased energy consumption during festive decorations. You may have admired or heard about the Champs Elysées- the most beautiful avenue in world. It attracts a lot of visitors who come to admire the decorations and illuminations on the trees and boutiques bordering the avenue. The lights used on the trees on the Champs Elysées now use new generation diodes that helps reduce the energy consumption by 70%.

Organic Christmas or Noël en Bio

A 3 day market that offers eco-friendly and organic products- original and great for offering as Christmas gifts.

Paris Organic Christmas Trade Fair
Dec 9th- 11th, 2011
11:00 AM- 08:00 PM
Espace Des Blancs Manteaux
48 rue vieille du temple - 75004
Metro: Saint Paul- Le Marais (Line 1) or Rambuteau (Line 11)
Bus: 29 (Bus stop: Rue vielle du temple)

Noël en Bio

 

Christmas for all- Recycle old toys and clothes

Some of you might already have seen Carrefour ad on TV in collaboration with the NGO 'Sécours Populaire Français' for recycling old toys. Your children can deposit and recycle their old toys at all Carrefour Hypermarkets in France between 19th November and 7th December 2011.The volunteers of Sécours Populaire will also hit the streets and shopping malls as 'green Father Christmas' to collect donations through animations and gift wrapping. Recycle your old clothes to charitable organisations such as Emmaus France or Croix Rouge (Red Cross) who will redistribute or resell your old clothes after retouching and altering to put them in order in order to generate funds for various social help projects. Red Cross has also launched its All for Fesitval « Tous en fête ! » operation from 1st December- 15th January 2012 with 300 events around France for the benefit of 50,000 impoverished people.

 

Let us all work towards making the Earth a sustainable place and let us wish for the happiness for all.

 

photo credits: Far above. A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burning candles, adorned with homemade Christmas decorations such as red hearts, white paper snowflakes, a golden star at the top, and gifts stacked underneath. by Malene Thyssen under GNU FDL