Simplifying Christmas and in a sustainable way is hugely important to the team at Nourish. We are always looking at ways we can be sustainable and ethical both within the business and in our homes. Christmas is always a time where we make sure we take a pause before everything gets started. Taking a look at how to create a greener Christmas for us and our family. Christmas can be a tricky one to navigate if you’re trying to become greener. All that glitter and plastic is not a good combination if you want to have a greener footprint. But the good news is that we have lots of simple swaps to help you.
This year in particular we feel it really important to keep Christmas simple, and to delve into what we need for the season. We won’t be adding unnecessary stress with some of those added extras that really aren’t going to make or break the festive spirit for us. Avoiding them, however, may help us focus on the most important things and enjoy the season with less of the stress- something none of us need more of right now!
It’s a Wrap
Wrapping paper; the easy test for this is, the less it scrunches up the more likely it is that it’s recyclable. We love the look and feel of brown Kraft paper as an alternative to shiny wrapping paper. It’s great fun stamping these with anything from potatoes that we carve into shapes for the kids, to using our gorgeousEnglish Stamp Companystamps that we’ve had for years. We might buy a few sheets of the gorgeousAlice Palacerecycled paper, with it’s gorgeous illustrations for a few special gifts. We’ll also be using some colourful twine from the gorgeous Twool. They make all of their plastic free twine from wool from rare breed sheep (money raised goes back into preserving this rare breed sheep) . Gift tags can be made from old Christmas cards too to cut down on costs this year!
Did you know that around 1.5 billion Christmas cards are binned in the UK each year? This year we are hand making some with the kids to send to relatives and friends who we haven’t been able to see. We are also of the attitude that if we don’t get through our Christmas card list it really doesn’t matter! Remember, simplicity, less stress. Think, how important is this really? You could pick up the phone and have a Christmas chat instead! if you do want to send a card that’s a gift too why not try these seeds cards from EcoLif3.
Deck the halls
There’s nothing quite like the joy that comes from decorating your house with family heirlooms, which makes them super sustainable too! We also love all the kids decorations that we get out year after year. The kids can have a little giggle at as they get older. Did you know we buy 7 million trees per year in the UK, that’s a huge number! If you’re buying a tree this year you could try an alternative plastic free version that you can use year after year. This year Kate has created a gorgeous hanging Christmas tree made from twigs and twine! It’s also so easy to create your own natural (and festive smelling) decorations. Let nature inside with pine cones, oven dried orange slices, or tying ribbon around a handful of cinnamon sticks.
Simple and ethical gifting
Like many we are really only looking to shop small and local this year. We are spoilt for choice in Surrey with beautiful small businesses that have really been hit hard lately and we really want to support them first and foremost. We’ve been looking for ethically made, green alternatives to some of our fave classic gifts. A lovely, local to us, small business@muckyknees is home to a plethora of sustainable kids toys and gifts. All designed to nurture the imagination, inspire curiosity and encourage social engagement. We love their bird seed pizza sets and their vegan all natural play dough which can then be refilled with the biodegradable refill pack, reducing production and waste- huge thumbs up from us! For something varied and different, and especially great for those hard to buy people,Authentic House have the most wonderful sustainable boxes with all sorts of lovely planet friendly gifts included.
Trying to reuse, repair and recycle with gifting is important to us too. This year Ellerie is simplifying Christmas by gifting a wooden dolls house to her Children that has been both her 20 year old and 11 year old nieces previously. We love how wooden toys really stand the test of time!
We are also ( shock shock!) all about gifting food this year. Homemade gifts such as cookies or truffles are a great way of simplifying your Christmas. Especially if you are already going to be making some for your house too! It’s a great project to get the kids involved with in the holidays. We’ve been busy creating lots of new gluten, dairy and refined sugar free, Christmas cookie box recipes you can find on ourIGTV. Remember though, if you think that’s going to be too much stress then do not put the pressure on yourself to do it! There are plenty of small foodie businesses selling delicious ethical and organic treats who would love your business, including us! Don’t forget we can basically make you a gift box with whatever you want added. Or choose one of our build a boxes or our festive box for simplicity!
Find the silver lining of 2020
We are all trying to look for the positives this year. Perhaps for you that’s simply being able to cosy up at home rather than go to yet another Christmas drinks that you really don’t want to go to. Or maybe it’s being able to slow down and enjoy hot chocolates and films at home. Rather than cramming your month in with extortionately expensive activities for the kids, so that come Christmas you are sick from exhaustion? Whatever it is, we hope that you will be able to find that silver lining this year and find joy in keeping it simple!
At Nourish we live by our name. Is it any wonder that so many brands have a derivative of the word nourishing in their name? The definition in itself of ‘promoting or sustaining life, growth, or strength’ is something so appealing that we all want a piece of it!
We’ve been thinking this month about how we can strive for a more #nourishedlife in aspects such as physical and mental health, our relationships and of course in nutrition. Nourishing practices and habits form such an important part of that growth, sustainment and strength that we all need. We need to ‘put on our own oxygen mask, before we can help others’. In other words, we need to nourish ourselves first in order to be able to reach out and nourish those around us.
So what can we be doing? I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase, ‘ do more of what makes you happy’ ? Well it is really as simple as that. Nourishing practices for us bring us joy and quiet content. There may be some that are tough to start off with and get off the ground and we may sometimes slip in and out of the practise or habit, but really, the things we should choose to do will make us happy. Hobbies are a great place to start. We only really start up yoga, dance, running, crafting or cooking out of enjoyment. These hands on and physical activities are super nourishing as we are able to take time to concentrate on only ourselves and develop personal talents that are lying just beneath the surface.
Getting closer to nature is something so many of us have been fortunate to do these last few months as we’ve simplified our lives and found joy in the great outdoors. Getting outside regularly is an absolute must for us. We’ve found pure peace in those early morning walks and the simplicity of playing amongst the trees, spotting new baby animals on the pond and breathing the air in deeply.
Nourishing practices are not always specific activities we do. Being completely present around your children playing, or when sitting watching Netflix with your partner may seem pretty obvious, but with busy worlds and phones always close by, they are not always easy to do. Trying hard to ensure we are mindfully preparing our food and mindfully eating it for each meal is important to us.
Being purposeful in our daily activities and doing these simple things with intent, can be just as nourishing for our body and mind and allow us to avoid letting everyday things slide past us. We love a daily practise of gratitude either in an evening journaling session or simply taking a moment for our mind to go through the day and then let it wander. This is a great thing to teach children to do too and can be done from the moment our children can speak. We like to go round the table during our evening meal and each choose something that has made us happy that day.
We’ve also learnt we don’t need to actually be doing anything to be nourishing ourselves. Some of the most nourishing practices we’ve tried to adopt into our weeks are ones where we actually do nothing. Meditating and mindfulness, complete with deep breathing can be so nourishing to both our minds and bodies. Aside from all the incredible health benefits of mindfulness, we find it really allows us to check in with ourselves. If you are looking for somewhere to start, simply sitting and staring out the window into your garden is a great way. There are also a plethora of great apps out there to help with mindfulness or meditation (check out Calm) Perhaps the most underestimated yet important nourishing practise we all need to adopt fully, and one we are told repeatedly about it’s benefits, is sleep!
We’ve enjoyed creating a slower pace of life these last few months (check out our Nourish Guide to Slow Living here ) but have still found merit in scheduling in time for these nourishing practices and sticking to routines. Routine can often help improve mental state as we look to enjoyable parts of our day we can control, and our body moulds into those pockets of routine moments. A warm drink first thing in the morning, a yoga class at a certain set designated time in our day and a short but affective wind down routine, perhaps with a bath or skincare routine before bed, can really help our sleep improve as our body starts to recognise it should prepare for sleep mode.
Have we become a nation of lockdown bakers? It seems the answer is a resounding, yes! It’s World Baking Day this week, a great excuse for some baking. When we aren’t creating in the Nourish kitchen this is one of our favourite activities. The smell of chocolate cake or banana bread is enough to keep us baking week after week!
It seems as though everyone has become bakers over the last few months, right? From sourdough to banana bread we’ve all wanted to give it a go! The most empty shelves in supermarkets are currently found down the baking aisle. So, why is it that baking has such an appeal? What is it that makes us enjoy the actual act of baking and not just the produce?
Baking as therapy?
Baking is can be seen as a therapeutic tool and has been used as an antidote for some mental health issues. Studies from The British Journal of Occupational Therapy have found that baking “improved concentration, increased coordination and built confidence, leading to an increased feeling of self-esteem“. It also, “provides purpose and meaning, as well as a real and tangible way of filling time“. Perhaps this all makes a bit more sense for a population of people on lockdown faced with uncertain immediate futures!
Kids In The Nourish Kitchen
Ask any young child, ‘would you like to bake a cake with me?’ and I think you would be hard pressed to find one that didn’t jump up to help. The Nourish children are all super keen bakers. Baking is a great way to get children into the kitchen. Learning to understand ingredients and the world of food from an early age is an important skill. It’s where the Nourish story began after all. As a child, Ineke, our Founder, was brought up in a home where cooking from scratch was the norm. Throughout the years she has loved being in her kitchen creating, delicious and nutritious food for her family and friends. Nourish was born while Ineke was searching for snacks for her own family. She wanted to create something that would feel like a treat but would nourish from the inside out. ‘For as long as I remember as a mum, I have cooked alongside my daughter Inge who is now 9. More recently she has been creating food herself as shown in our latest IGTV video series, ‘Kids in the Nourish Kitchen’.
Cook along with us on IGTV
We’ve loved seeing lots of you cooking along with us on these IGTV videos and making some of our simple faves such as humous, smoothies, oat slices and ice cream. There are lots of recipes you can whip up very quickly and that children can get involved in. Our recipes use nourishing ingredients and all have been taste tested and approved by the Nourish kids! We definitely have proof that getting children making their own food whether chopping or designing the recipe, mixing, or even just pressing the Vitamix ‘on’ button means they are far more likely to try, and even love the end product! Remember, there is so much children can learn from cooking and baking as it can cover a wide range of subjects including maths, science, art and English. So get it added it to your home-school schedule for a bit of fun! We would love to see any of our IGTV recipes that you recreate with your little ones (or big ones) so please keep sharing these and using the hashtag #nourishkidsinthekitchen.
For more recipes from the Nourish Kitchen including lists of our favourite brands to use when cooking, check out our NEW recipe book Nourishing Treats full of dairy, gluten and refined sugar free crowd pleasers, with easy to follow along recipes.