12 tips for an Ocean Friendly Christmas

This festive season you can make just a few wee changes to your Christmas celebrations, making a big impact on our seas. Some of our team have got together to share our favourite tips to make your winter more ocean friendly…

1.       This year our office secret Santa was all plastic free, handmade or locally sourced. Secret Santa also lets you invest more thought in a single gift rather than buying lots of little things in a ‘panic shop’ that might end up not being used or thrown away. This year Alison made some infused cooking oils for Lauren who was keen to learn some new recipes.

Lauren’s ready to cook up a storm with her oils from Alison this year.

Lauren’s ready to cook up a storm with her oils from Alison this year.

2.       Fish course on the menu? Before you buy please check out the sustainable seafood guide for up-to-date advice on dolphin friendly dinner options.

3.       Sponsor a whale – a thoughtful gift for all ages. You can sponsor the endangered West Coast Community of killer whales, or one of our frequently spotted minke whales. Our sponsorship packs are full of lovely things like a photo of your chosen whale, a species ID guide and a certificate, all in an exclusive HWDT tote bag. Lauren’s favourite is Knobble the minke whale, as he has his very own facebook page and even a song on YouTube.

4.       Ditch the wrapping paper – Brightly coloured gifts under the Christmas tree are an iconic festive image, but unfortunately most wrapping papers are not recyclable. Reuse wrapping paper and gift bags that people have wrapped your gifts in previously. Brown paper is a classy alternative that is cheaper and recyclable (around £2.39 for 6m!) which can be tied with twin rather than sellotape. Lynsey suggests jazzing up your festive paper with a homemade potato stamp!

Check out this locally sourced handmade gift tag, as well as the brown paper wrapping - very stylish.

Check out this locally sourced handmade gift tag, as well as the brown paper wrapping - very stylish.

5.       Give the gift of your company – it’s always stressful around Christmas trying to think of what to get for all your friends and family. Instead of panic buying prezzies this year why not give your loved ones some quality time. How about taking your parents out for lunch? Or treating your friends with a trip the cinema? Pauline runs a pirate themed Escape Room game out of our Discovery Centre in Tobermory. For just £25 for a family it’s a great way spend some quality time with the kids.

6.       Instead of heading out to buy lots of shiny (but plastic-y) tinsel each year, there are lots of beautiful ways to decorate your tree that won’t hurt the planet. Karen dries slices of orange in the oven to make beautifully scented baubles. Salt dough is a fun way to make personalised decorations – Siobhan made these cute dolphins that we all decorated for our office tree!

One of the many colourful sea themed decorations on our christmas tree…

One of the many colourful sea themed decorations on our christmas tree…

7.       Stuck for gift ideas? A reusable coffee cup along with a box of posh tea, or bag of fancy coffee is a great treat for those caffeine addicts amongst you… as a mum of two boisterous wee girls this is what Morven is hoping Santa will bring this Christmas.

8.       Reduce, reuse and recycle – it’s hard to completely cut out plastic but the three Rs are something to bear in mind. Reduce – cut down on your plastics by opting for loose veggies, bringing your own shopping bags, and where possible buy things in glass or tins rather than plastic. Reuse - upcycle Christmas cards into next year’s gift tags, save decorations to use next year … Recycle – have you heard of the scrunch test? To find out if you can recycle your wrapping paper give it a scrunch. If it creases; great you can recycle! If it springs back – unfortunately not.

9.       Got a mountain of washing up after your Christmas feast? Need to clean the house top to toe before the in-laws visit? There are plenty of places that you can refill your cleaning supplies with environmentally friendly products, whilst also cutting down on single-use plastic bottles.

We have an Ecover refill service in our Discovery Centre in Tobermory, a popular service with locals.

We have an Ecover refill service in our Discovery Centre in Tobermory, a popular service with locals.

10.   Don’t immediately throw out that artificial tree in favour of a real one. Pauline has had her artificial tree since 1999 and it still looks fabulous! While we do need to act now on the big plastic problem, single use plastics are the thing to cut. So rather than going out and buy new things to replace your plastic items just make good use of what you have already got. If you do opt for a real tree look out for the FSC logo to make sure your tree is sustainable, or better yet find one with roots!

11.   Shop local – from food to presents your local shops should not be overlooked. Becky has managed to sort all her Christmas presents from independent businesses right here on Mull.

12.   Do you usually head for the hills or local woodlands for the start of your Boxing Day constitutional walk? Ditch the car and step out from your front door instead. Take the chance to rediscover the secrets of your own patch and this also get the chance to wave cheerily at your neighbours as you walk past.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year from Tobermory

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year from Tobermory