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How to Have a Sustainable Christmas And New Year in Your Care Home?

Christmas is upon us, and with it comes the annual excess of food, packaging and wrapping paper. It is natural to want to great ourselves after 12 months of hard work. However, there are plenty of ways to do so while also keeping an eye on celebrating responsibly and sustainably. Here are six ways to enjoy an eco-friendly Christmas and New Year in your care home this year.

Get them all greener gifts

As we get older, many of us prefer to collect memories or enjoy experiences, rather than amassing lots of material clutter. It’s an idea that can appeal to people of all ages, in fact. So, when choosing gifts for your residents, suppliers and staff, think about buying things that the person will really value, rather than plastic clutter that they will throw away sooner rather than later. One good idea is to give people ‘consumables’ – edible treats or bath products etc. – that they will eat or ‘use up’. Or go for experiences instead, such as a voucher for a local restaurant or café for staff, or a free hairdressing session, hand massage or special afternoon tea for your residents.

Happy handmade Christmas!

Another way to make Christmas more sustainable is to make as much as you can yourself. From homemade crackers to hand-baked cakes, there are several ways you can make Christmas special for your residents and staff. Homemade crackers can be personalised so that each person receives treats that they will really want. Making homemade cards from old Christmas wrapping paper helps recycle paper and provides a fun afternoon’s crafting.

Deck the halls with eco-friendly decorations

The tradition of bringing fresh greenery in to dress the home goes back centuries and has the added bonus of being far more sustainable than choosing plastic decorations. If you are lucky enough to have lots of suitable foliage and berries in your care home grounds, this is a great place to start. Otherwise, check online for places that allow people to gather greenery to take back home for decorating. Other eco-friendly decorations could include homemade paper snowflakes and paper chains. This is another great idea for a residents’ crafting activity and is cheap and simple to arrange.

Go online to send festive greetings

Many businesses such as care homes have long lists of contacts to whom they send Christmas greeting or New Year’s missives. While you may have already sent out your Christmas cards this year, think about going online for the future. From e-cards to photo montages, there are many methods that you can use to send out some festive cheer. Consider starting an online newsletter in 2024 to keep people in touch with your news and activities. This can then double as a Christmas message this time next year. Make it a New Year’s resolution to use Care Vision to help you keep in touch with your stakeholders more often in 2024, rather than sending out too many paper-based communications.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Remember the three ‘Rs’ when doing your Christmas present wrapping. Encourage residents and staff to recycle as much wrapping paper as possible. Check that paper can be recycled before putting it in the right bin, as some cannot be reused, e.g. patterns with glitter on them. Save non-recyclable wrapping paper to use for crafts in the New Year, or next December, along with any ribbons, bows and other present adornments. Alternatively, provide residents with pieces of Christmassy fabric or sturdy decorated boxes or bags to wrap or put gifts in. These can be saved, stored away and reused year after year.

Save energy this Christmas and New Year

Think about how much energy you are using over Christmas and New Year in your care home. Switch to LED lights on the Christmas tree or around the home. This simple move can save as much as 80% energy compared to traditional bulbs. If you decorate outside, use solar powered lights to take advantage of a constant source of renewable energy. Check that your care home is suitably insulated to help save on heating costs. Turn Christmas tree lights off at night. Close the curtains as soon as it starts to get dark to keep in the heat and banish the December and January draughts.

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