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Dreaming of a Green and Sustainable Christmas

By Amanda Abdallah and Marc Beyrouthy, On 2021.12.25

During your visit to Santa at Festina Lente, you will get to meet Santa Claus, post your Santa Claus letter, make your wish on the Wishing Tree, enjoy roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate……….and of course a visit to Santa would not be complete without visiting Siofra, Alanna, Bob, and Sean – Santa’s little ponies!

Christmas is here!

Christmas is all about spending quality time with your loved ones… But, unfortunately, Christmas also became a consumerist occasion.

Are you searching for alternatives to have, a green, sustainable, and true Christmas? This article is for you.

Our purpose is to share with you some tips for a true Christmas; each idea is your chance to change someone’s world.
Christmas doesn’t have to be a time of excess; you can simply do your part so tones of plastic wrappings and billions of Christmas cards don’t end up in the bin after Christmas day. You can also do your best to fight food waste.Or pick any of the following ideas; yes, you can change the world, one idea at a time.

  1. Choose Local and Support Local Shops. When you choose to put items on your Christmas table, or even offering your loved ones a certain gift, this can be a gesture to show your support for some brilliant small-scale producers. When you chose local or you buy local, you’re choosing sustainable.

Handmade and Homemade items will bring a simple, beautiful energy into your home.”

  1. Rethink your Christmas gifts. It’s easy to get carried away when shopping for Christmas gifts, but take a moment to think if the present is really necessary – or even wanted.  Ask yourself before buying, is it sustainable? Will the recipient love it? Did I help a craftsman and his family? Buying a gift because it is sustainable is like voting for a system: make the choices of all-natural, renewable materials, recyclables, shop from locally-owned shops, support your community and local economy, etc.

Transform someone’s life with your gift.

  1. Get educated and educate around you. Environmental education connects us to the world around us. This holiday season get familiar with RRR (reduce, reuse and recycle), say no to single-use plastic, make sustainable Christmas decorations. But above all, make the world know about your choice.

“Learning is the foremost gift that you can give to yourself and don’t forget to share it around”

  1. Choose between living Christmas trees or local trees for reforestation. Ask yourself real or plastic Christmas trees? That’s the eco-question. One is natural, grown locally, and must be bought every year. The other is made of plastic but can be used again and again. In general, it is a better choice to get a real tree; however, if you choose a plastic one, you will have to use it for longer than 12 years so that it matches the eco-footprint of a green one. This year you can also buy from local nurseries native pines, fir, or even cedar seedlings, decorate them, and after New Year, donate them to any reforestation active NGO’s (like LRI) to make your country green again.

“Follow the path of nature, it is always the answer.”

  1. Join or help NGOsor small initiatives. You don’t have money? Volunteer and share your time. Helping for a good cause or helping others in need is a smart resolution. Giving to others should be the spirit year-round, not just during the holidays. So much can be accomplished with just a little donated time from each of us.

“The greatest gift you can give to someone is your time.”

  1. Donate items you don’t need/use.  How many items, whether food, clothes, kitchen supplies, etc. do you have to lie around your house that you don’t use?  Why do you still have them?  Try something, go through and donate all the things you don’t use.  Holiday items aside, if you haven’t used something in the last six months are you going to miss it?  If you won’t, then donate it.

” Giving is not just about making a donation it’s about making a difference.”

  1. Decorate with NATURE. Avoid plastic and opt for wood or organic material. Bring in elements from the outdoors to incorporate into your home, such as a wreath of pine or an abandoned nest to place a candle within. The best eco-friendly Christmas decorations are the ones you use year after year. However, if you’d like to add to your collection, look to people that are already making upcycling ornaments in the most sustainable way possible. Create your ornaments or help your kids cut and hang snowflakes from scrap paper saved throughout the year.

“Get inspired by nature, it has a lot to offer: colors, materials, shapes, and more. So, on your next walk: take a look around.”

  1. Reduce your food waste. Cut down on packaging, shop sustainably, and plan a simple menu. Use your leftovers, share them, compost them, or give them to chickens if needed. But remember food can’t go to landfills. Just put in mind that there are 900 million hungry people worldwide and one billion people overfed.

“What for you is leftover, for others is a real meal.”

  1. Gift wrappings Upcycling. Many articles are found about gifting without wrappings but most people expect to receive gifts wrapped. So at least try to transform wrapping into useful things. Just type on Google upcycling wraps and you will find tons of ideas: upcycled party hats, wrapping paper bunting, Shred-it into paper confetti, fashion pretty envelope, and much more.

“It is not the wrap that matters, it is the gift. Don’t let the wrap be a trap.”

  1. Connect with Nature: Christmas is a time for giving and a time for family. It can be an opportunity to connect or give back to the earth. It can be as simple as a family nature hike to organize an event or fundraising to help around Christmas like nature restoration activity, recycling, raising eco-awareness.

“You are never alone when you are connected with nature.”

Follow the path of nature, it is always the answer. So that the greatest gift you can give to someone is your time.

Below you will find our selection for a sustainable green Christmas.

For your sustainable Christmas table say yes to local and no to imported when there is a local alternative. From aperitifs to desserts, we’ve got Christmas dinner locally covered.

Bread – by Atelier n7: A set of yummy bread, each, crafted to perfection using slow fermentation; sourdough, and grade A ingredients. All

bread is mixed and kneaded by the hands of a talented young Chef.

Foie gras – by Candy Yaghi: If you’ve never had foie gras on your Christmas table before, you’re missing this real treat. Foie Gras paired with jams cherry and plum, accompanied by a loaf of sliced and toasted brioche, all handmade with the love of the winning awards Candy. “A refined sensual delicacy now reaching Lebanon.”

Strawberry and Raspberry Jam –Aramoun Keserwan – by Les Reserves du Grenier: Grown with special care of a passionate man. The intense raspberry and strawberry flavors of this jam make it a longtime favorite and a must-try on the Christmas table.

Prune and Apple paste – Lebanese Village Products –by NaturebyMarcBeyrouthy: Made by macerating and sun-dried, these pastes are versatile ingredients to use in a range of Christmas simple recipes while helping farmers selling their products.

Tapenades – by NaturebyMarcBeyrouthy: A unique blend combining the richness of our black olives and the Mediterranean flavors of several aromatics plants.

Tomme de La Vallée Blanche – Ehmej – by Bassam Matta: This mild, semi-firm cow’s milk cheese, pasteurized at 72 degrees is produced in Ehmej by free-ranged cows (Brune de France).

Mouneh and specialties items homemade – by ARDI – by The Lebanese Fork – فِرتَيكي – by Agreen Organics and many more: Each one has its story; each entrepreneur has his trademark all with one goal serving you the best quality handmade for an affordable value.

Mouneh and Terroir Products – by NaturebyMarcBeyrouthy: Honey, vinegar, olives, olive oils, jams, pickles, thyme, arak, and many more. Behind these delicious products is the story of an income generation project that has changed the lives of countless rural women throughout Lebanon.

Halawa Chocolate / Cinnamon Apple Butter –  by Celine Homemade Delights: After you taste Celine’s Halawa, peanut butter, and spreads, your taste buds will change forever. Cooked by a loving wife and designed by a supportive husband.

Bûche de Noël – by Bon Appétit: The all-time favorite cake of the holiday season, made with love in a creative way like you would do it in your home.

Hot Chocolate kit – by M de Noir: The Lebanese award-winning chocolate that is born from a flame that grew over the years, M de Noir offers an assortment of noble confections made with grand chocolates & opulent ingredients.

Christmas Marzipan – by Le Marzipan de Zouk: The marzipan paste has always been a typical handicraft of the town of almond trees, Zouk Mikael. Flowers all crafted in almond paste, battered with sugar, sprinkled with orange flower water and high-quality rose water.

Coldcut’s’ Wreath – by Chef. Marc Ghaoui: For the lovers of cold cuts Chef Marc Ghaoui created this exquisite wreath made of an assortment of Bresaola, Salami, Lomo, Ham, and more.. all made in Lebanon.

Pecorino cheese – Gout Blanc: This goat cheese has the best full-bodied flavor and when tasted, we can realize how the flavor and aroma are more intense, creamy, and tending to sweet. Making it without a doubt one of the most stunning Pecorino cheeses.

Stollen Cake – by Chayeb Bakery: This German traditional delicacy is prepared perfectly by combining almonds homemade marzipan with a lemon aroma. Get in the holiday spirit and serve this German treat now specially made in Lebanon to your family!

Fire Batch – Cinnamon – by Bar and Beyond: A warming Cinnamon liqueur for the festivities or a drink for a Christmas party cocktail born out of the experience of a young ambitious man searching for a sustainable local idea.

Wines – by Chateau Trois Collines: In a divine dance of art and science, Chateau Trois Collines brings together all the elements necessary for creating the finest and most richly distinctive wines in the Bekaa.

Apple Arak – by Ashtarout: This Arak is distilled using the finest anise seeds & apples from the mountains of Akoura.

Decoration items or upcycling gifts

Coup de glue – by Nancy Massad: a stay-at-home mom who loves to make create and make useful decorations to brighten one everyday’s life offers a wide range of artisanal and handmade products, tolerating a level of personalized care and passion that goes into producing every single craft.

Micha’s Handmade: You can find here a wide variety of drawing and painting designs on porcelain and glass supplies such as tea sets, coffee sets, plates, cups, mugs, and glasses. All designed by the hands of a loving mom and wife trying to spread her talent around.

Beamini handmade crafts: A daughter who used to see her mom making these beautiful and unique handicrafts items (with wool, crochet, and cross-stitch, etc.) asked her to learn and now Beamini crafts are made by a mother and a daughter love.

Pensee: A landscape Engineer turning the most beautiful ideas inspired by nature into snowballs.

CreO: A Lebanese design studio that turns concrete into modern accessories personally customized from sketch to execution by a design professor loving to explore and create with various construction products who After a while transmitted his passion to his wife and 8-year-old son helping along to become a small family business that has transformed the bland concrete material into something new, unique, decorative, and special, made with lots of care and love.

Marazal handcrafted by Mariam: From Mar for Mariam & Azal for Eternity, Marazal was born. By mingling her passion for green, fine design & handcraft know-how Marazal is the natural outcome of Mariam’s crave to immortalize memories & bewitch abandoned objects into unique pieces of art.

Mistletoe – @mistletoebynadine: Handmade decorations By Nadine an interior architect and passionate about crafting. Combining nature’s finest elements such as pine cones, acorns, nutshells… along with upcycled artificial greenery and berries to create Christmas decorations for your home décor.

Concrast – by Maria Aouad: a new technique for combining concrete and contrast that turn out with sparkle and an added value to the place where it shall rest as everything is hand-crafted with the purest form of energy.

JP Recycle Design – by Jean-Paul Fares: JP transforms what others consider as Discarded Waste into art pieces.

Spot the knot – by Sylvie Khalifeh: who specializes in Macrame home decor and accessories. A proof of patience and makes us appreciate the beauty of details.

Coup de Marteau – by Serge Gemayel: An Outside of the Box String art characterized by an arrangement of colored thread strung between points to form geometric patterns originated at the end of the 19th century to teach mathematics to children.

TaTache Handmade – by Murielle: A simple idea to create reusable and hand-painted tote bags that are eco-friendly and to support existing talent and encourage new affiliations with local craftsmen and women to provide employment and income.

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