This has been a tough year, and our local shops, restaurants, and care homes have been hit especially hard. By supporting our communities this Christmas, we can build a foundation for a brighter new year. One with bustling high streets, busy farmers, lively restaurants and packed pubs.
Here are eight ways to support your local community this Christmas, and beyond.
Shop local for gifts
Amazon is hard to resist, it is usually less expensive, easy to navigate, and far more convenient than heading out in the cold. But this year has been especially hard for local businesses and they need your support now more than ever.
So instead of starting your present search online, try your local high street first, and you can always go online later to fill in the gaps. Showing your local shop owners some love can be as simple as buying a few stocking stuffers, but it makes all the difference to them. Plus you’ll probably find gifts that are far more personal and unique.
Another benefit is all the Amazon packaging and transportation emissions you’ll be cutting out of the equation. This will make your gift-giving as sustainable as it is kind.
Buy farm-fresh for your Christmas dinner
Buying some of the ingredients for your Christmas meal from your local farm shop has a multitude of benefits, both personal and environmental. First of all, you’ll be supporting your local farmer and their family. Second, you’ll be cutting the emissions from transporting groceries around the world out of your holiday carbon footprint. And third, you’ll avoid the piles of plastic packaging found in large grocery chains.
Try buying your meat and veg from the farm shop, then head to your local supermarket for your sweets and snacks.
Stock up at your local wine shop
What is Christmas and New Years without some bubbly to celebrate? For many, it’s the time of year to indulge a little. By patronising your local wine shop you’ll not only be supporting them and their families, but you’ll most likely be buying carefully chosen wine from smaller suppliers. This means your support is not only going towards your community but that of a small family-run vineyard in France or Italy. If it’s the cost you’re worried about, most local wine shops have a wider price range than they may appear at first glance. Plus, their less expensive wines will probably be higher quality than those ordered in bulk by larger stores.
Choose a sustainable Christmas tree
When choosing a Christmas tree, try to buy from a local farm to support your local community and cut down on transportation emissions. You can do this by looking up your nearby tree farm or asking at your nearby temporary lot where their trees were grown.
If you want to go one step further, make sure the trees were grown sustainably by looking for the symbol of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) or the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This means that the farmers adhered to strict growing practices that take into account environmental impact and respect for wildlife.
Buy gift cards to local restaurants
The hospitality industry has really suffered this year, and it won’t help that restaurants and pubs can’t count on their usual crowds for Christmas and New Years dinners. Even the ones that are fully booked are no longer able to fill to the same capacity due to distancing restrictions.
So instead of a jumper or a scarf, why not treat a loved one to a nice meal out by gifting them a voucher to a local restaurant instead? This is also a great and easy idea for anyone who lives far away – support their local community by gifting them a voucher for a restaurant near them. This saves on postage, packaging, and the transport emissions of shipping a gift.
Have a post-Christmas clean-out and donate to local school library & charity shops
After Christmas, your house is bound to be feeling full. Why not take the opportunity to have a good clear out? Then make sure to donate any books to your local library or school, reach out to your local care homes to see if they need anything, and anything else can go to the charity shop.
Do something nice for your local care home
After this difficult year, people in care homes need some cheering up now more than ever. This can be as simple as giving a donation to dropping off a cheery wreath or a couple of bouquets that can be displayed for all to see. Even the smallest acts of kindness make all the difference in care homes across the UK.
Spread the word about Christmas tree recycling and pickup
According to The Carbon Trust, a 2-metre tall tree releases the methane equivalent of 16kg carbon dioxide as it decomposes. That may not seem so significant, but the government estimates that all of the UK’s tossed trees weigh in at around 160,000 tonnes. Fly tipped trees can also become costly for local authorities, with each tree costing over £2 to remove in some districts.
So, to avoid fly-tipped trees in your area spread the word about proper tree recycling or donation.
At ESS Utility we help improve communities through supporting schools, care homes, SMEs, and leisure centres. By taking on our client’s utilities management, we free up their time so they can focus on what matters: building a resilient foundation for everyone to thrive.
If you’d like a no-fuss path towards sustainability in these uncertain times, contact us at ESS Utility.
A very merry Christmas from the ESS team!