Let’s celebrate a conscious Christmas

CITIES is encouraging it's community members to have a more sustainable Christmas

Christmas is undoubtedly one of the happiest times of the year. Along with the holiday season, come the gifts for young and old ones. A side effect of this period, however, is consumerism. Christmas is the peak of consumerism in western cultures. In common use, consumerism refers to a tendency of people living in a capitalist economy to engage in a lifestyle of excessive materialism that revolves around reflexive, wasteful, or conspicuous overconsumption.

In the Netherlands, most Christmas purchases are done in November or the first half of December. Dutch consumers spend a lot less during the holiday season than consumers in other countries (33% less than average). According to an analysis made by Statista, in 2017 in the Netherlands, the most desirable gifts for men are: 1) books, 2) chocolates, food/drink, 3) games, and 4) cash. Respectively, the most desired gifts for women are: 1) chocolates, 2) books and cosmetics/perfumes, 3) gift vouchers, and 4) beauty care, massage, spa treatment.

Vast amounts of clothing, electronic items and plastic products which we consume contribute to a throwaway culture, wherein too much waste is generated and too little is recycled. Last year, Dutch municipalities collected 8.5 billion kilograms of household waste. That is 494 kilograms of garbage per inhabitant of the Netherlands. It’s time for change! After all, there is no planet B.

At CITIES FOUNDATION, we believe we can make a difference by empowering local communities to tackle global problems. The same applies to Christmas overconsumption, so we are encouraging people to celebrate a conscious Christmas. We provide our community members with information about the impact of conventional Christmas presents and give them discounts on sustainable alternatives. Take a look below to see some of our tips and findings.

We wish you a merry Christmas and a plastic-free year!


Cosmetics come swathed in plastic, often not readily recyclable. They also contain chemical substances, which are potentially harmful to the environment. And let’s not forget that a high percentage of them is still being tested on animals. However, some companies are trying to change this. Take a look at the products of Flow Cosmetics and Loofy’s.

One of the negative environmental impacts of fast fashion is water pollution, due to the use of toxic chemicals and growing levels of textile waste. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry globally. So how can we reduce our fashion footprint? Choosing eco-friendly brands is the first step. For example, take a look at Granny’s finest.

We all want to look fashionable and stylish with a new pair of sunglasses, while also protecting our eyes. But there’s a catch: conventional sunglasses contribute to environmental pollution. They are made of non-biodegradable plastic, and a combination of other materials, such as metal and paint. In this way, they are not recyclable and frequently end up in landfills. You can find sustainable alternatives at The Bamboovement.

Most conventional cases are made from polycarbonate or polypropylene plastics, both harmful to the environment. POPSICASE has eco-friendly cases made from fishing nets, check it out!

TOOTHBRUSHES (not a conventional gift, but maybe the bamboo brush can be an exception)
For centuries, the basic toothbrush was made from natural materials. Maybe, it’s about time we returned to that again. Most of us will use around 300 toothbrushes during our lifetime. Modern plastic and electric toothbrushes are not recyclable because small parts get stuck in the machinery. Furthermore, they often end up in oceans, effectively endangering marine life. The Bamboovement has sustainable bamboo brushes.

Wrapping paper is often dyed, laminated, or contains non-paper additives such as gold and silver coloured shapes or glitter. When this is the case, it cannot be recycled. Furthermore, some wrapping paper is very thin and therefore contains a very limited amount of good quality fibres for recycling. Why not use a reusable gift wrap from Made by Minke, which looks even nicer than its paper counterparts.


Created on 09 December 2019

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