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Stuck in Munich for Christmas? A little guide for a more sustainable Christmas 2020

December • 16th, 2020
by the Expat in the City Team

Green Christmas

Have yourself a sustainable little Christmas this year


A tougher lockdown for Christmas in Germany. It’s a fact: Christmas 2020 will be different to any other Christmas we’ve ever had. This lockdown means no Christmas markets, no sipping glühwein in the streets, no shopping in the city, restricted travel and no gatherings with more than 5 people.


And even though this is tough and no fun at all, we wonder is there a silver lining to this situation? And our answer: Yes, of course! There always is a silver lining.


Why not use this 'Christmas-in-lockdown' time to reflect on old habits and explore adopt some new habits for a greener future and start implementing them right away.


Corona might be beaten with a vaccination sometime (hopefully!) soon, but the damage to our environment on climate change is not (sorry for the gloomy message, but it is true!) Here's the silver lining: we can all make a difference! Our environment needs us all to protect and improve it. So why not ask yourself today what can you do NOW to help undo or stop the damage already done? If we all do a little, we can together achieve a lot!


Some food for thought for this Christmas holiday!



Size really doesn’t matter. The size of the present does not determine the size of the impact is has on its receiver. It's the beauty and thought of a gift coming from the heart that matter. Maybe it is a playlist, a poem, a walk in the park or dinner with a friend, a phone call or sharing a glass of wine via zoom, an old-fashioned letter, a photo calander, a cake…


Yes, we know, our kids will not cry with joy over a poem, but how about a distance baking session with aunt or grandma abroad?


Or how about dedicating the time to upcycle your daughter's favorite sweater into a pair of winter gloves?

Or painting your son's desk with him?

Or learning how to dance Lindy Hop in your living room

Or just throwing a house party with your kids - allowed even in corona times : )


The best things in life are free. Let's remember that when once again we go nuts over „I don´t know what to get her /him / them!“


Let´s keep it simple this year and get creative. Yes, we can!



If, however, it´s still a material gift (that needs to be wrapped) you want/need to give. Keep in mind that 8000 ton of wrapping paper is thrown away in Germany every Christmas. If that paper is laminated with foil (and most Christmas paper is) it can´t even be recycled.


Some suggestions:

  • Use old newspapers or magazines to wrap your presents in
  • Make the presents as small as possible (rings and necklaces just take little paper to get wrapped !)



It's cheap, it's fun and it is cheerful: salt dough. Cut out Christmas trees, hearts or cookie shapes, make a hole, paint. And ready! Or braid little braids of it and decorate with cloves…or or or... No limits to your fantasy! YOUR KIDS WILL LOVE IT!


How to make salt dough Christmas decorations - BBC Good Food



Did you know Viktualienmarkt is still open? Grab your shopping basket and buy your fruits and vegetables directly at the market - with zero packaging. And remember: peels and leftovers go in the brown Bio-Tonne in your Hausmüll. Who is up for the challenge this year? No plastic packaging, no plastic cups, no superfluous bags – A plastic free Christmas this year!



Sounds good, right? Avoid all cans and plastic bottles when it comes to drinks. Go for alcohol in glass bottles- to be disposed at one of the Wertstoffinseln close to your house.


OR even better, have a strong guy from one of the many local „Getränkemärkte“ deliver beer, water, soft drinks and more in crates and pick them up when they are empty. As easy as that!




Before you hit the „order“ button on Amazon, ask yourself do you know the environmental impact of Amazon online shopping and shipping? We looked it up and now that we know...In 2017, Amazon´s deliveries alone emitted about 19 million metric tons of carbon. And the time in transit has a direct relationship to the environmental impact.


It's almost Christmas and we don't want to go into detail- but each time you order online-on top of the carbon footprint of the ordered item itself- add the carbon footprint for shipping and delivering - it´s still based on fossil fuels.


The price is ours to pay. From each and every single person on this planet- is your order really worth it?


IN A NUTSHELL, dear friends:


As we already mentioned, Corona might be beaten with a vaccination, but our environment will not.

This beautiful planet can only recover with the help of each of us – our awareness and willingness to choose more sustainable habits.


Let's go for it. Let's make this Christmas the beginning of a new awareness- or, in Mel Kelly's words in „The green pill“:


Let's make this world a better place, let's make this world a greener place: for us, our children and future generations!



Merry Christmas EVERYONE!

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