Last year I did the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge as a type of self-care initiative during another lockdown. This year, I’m focusing on nature with a 12 Days of Christmas for the Environment Challenge. Join me on this fun and rewarding challenge as I give a little back to the environment this holiday season!
COP26 has come and gone and it’s easy for us to turn our attention to festivities and forget about the ever-present climate crisis. As many of you know, this year has been especially devastating for British Columbia; forest fires destroyed towns and severe flooding has wreaked havoc on agriculture and transportation. This is just one example of severe weather events that are occurring more frequently around the globe, and many people are suffering from the consequences of climate change already. Equally, we’ve seen a substantial increase in biodiversity loss, and the plastics crisis shows no sign of remediation. This little challenge will by no means address or solve these huge issues. However, by giving a little bit of our time and energy to the environment over Christmas, we can help keep it in the forefront of our minds. After all, isn’t nature worth celebrating and protecting?
See also: Christmas and the Climate Crisis
12 Days of Christmas for the Environment Challenge
1st Day of Christmas:
Litter Pick: If you’ve got a bit of spare time on your hands this holiday, why not do a little litter pick or beach clean up? If you’re out for a walk on your own or with family anyways, you can bring a bag and some gloves and collect rubbish as you go along. This can be a fun activity to organise with a group – you could even go the extra mile and get people to sponsor you and then donate the money to charity.
2nd Day of Christmas:
Plant-Based: I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I don’t eat meat/cheese at Christmas. I view meat as a treat and I look forward to indulging a bit during the holidays. However, I am aiming to include more plant-based options for our meals and buffets this year. When I do choose to eat meat, I will do so in moderation. If you’re looking for a meat alternative for a festive main, check out my nut loaf recipe! Festive Nut Loaf
3rd Day of Christmas:
Forest Bathing: I mentioned this activity in my post on Tips for Winter Wellness. This Christmas vacation, I encourage you to visit a forest, or publicly-funded park or reserve. If you live in an area where you need to pay for park passes, these could make great gifts or Christmas activities for the family!
4th Day of Christmas:
Feed the Birds: This is a fairly easy activity to do if you have your own back garden. In winter it’s important to ensure that the feeders are topped up so that the birds stay healthy. With consistent feeding, you’ll have regular visitors, and that helps with backyard biodiversity, and the biodiversity in your local area.
5th Day of Christmas:
Nature Writing: I love reading nature writing, and exploring other people’s experiences with nature is a great way to appreciate and connect with the natural environment yourself. I enjoyed The Salt Path, which is a travel memoir filled with nature writing and Underland, which explores underground environments. Here are some more suggestions.
6th Day of Christmas:
Plastic Free: This Christmas, I implore you to try to wrap your gifts plastic free. There are plenty of reusable and recycled options for gift wrap on the market and I just don’t get why plastic coated wrapping paper is still a thing! If you are given gift wrap, save it and re-use it.
7th Day of Christmas:
Activism: Perhaps a slightly more “advanced” or “committed” challenge, activism is arguably one of the most effective tools for tacking the climate crisis and environmental degradation. Write to your MP or local council about an environmental issue that’s been on your mind. Attend local meetings about conservation issues or planning projects. Join a protest!
8th Day of Christmas:
Transportation: This holiday season (and even as a new year’s resolution) commit to walking, cycling, or taking public transport as much as possible. We all need the extra exercise to burn off those Christmas calories anyways!
9th Day of Christmas:
Charity: Donate your time or money to a charity. This doesn’t necessarily need to be an environmental charity. The reality of the climate crisis is that humanitarian, emergency aid, education, equality, and innovation charities are also involved in supporting those affected by climate or environmental changes.
10th Day of Christmas:
Film Fest: Watch a documentary, or any type of movie that focuses on nature, the environment, or climate change. You can opt for wholesome Attenborough, which is family-friendly, or take the time to learn about some of our planet’s most troubling issues. If your looking for recommendations, I enjoyed Dark Waters, and also the documentary below! See also, Sustainability and Environmental Documentaries.
11th Day of Christmas:
Decluttering: As soon as Christmas is over, many of us will get that new year’s itch to start fresh and declutter our homes. This is a friendly reminder to do your best to de-clutter sustainably. Think twice if you’re only de-cluttering to make room for more stuff. See: Minimalism – Helpful or Detrimental to Sustainable Living?
12th Day of Christmas:
Dialogue: The great “they” say that it isn’t appropriate to discuss sex, politics, and religion at family functions. I don’t know about your gatherings, but we rarely end up following this rule! One topic that I feel is controversial, emotional, and divided, but very much worth discussing is the climate. The more we have open discussions about environmental issues, the more it becomes mainstream, which can drive policy change.
I hope you’ve found this 12 Days of Christmas for the Environment Challenge informative and inspiring. Let me know if you end up doing any of these challenges, and I wish you a peaceful nature-filled holiday!