I’m starting my New Year’s resolution early this year! As the shops fill with tinsel and glitter ready to cheer us up in the dark midwinter days before Christmas, I remember the dreaded ritual every Christmas Day of “can this paper be recycled? What about the gift tag? And the ribbon?’ followed a few days later by “can all these cards go in paper recycling or do you have to sort through them first?”.

This year when choosing cards and wrapping I will avoid those with plastic, glitter, or foil, to make life easier for my loved ones when they are clearing up.

I’ve finally realised I’m a hypocrite to recycle my own rubbish if I give stuff to others that has to go in the black bag to landfill!

I sometimes hear that “there’s no point in us cutting our carbon footprint till China cuts theirs”.

Well, it would be a bit daft for us to drift into catastrophic climate change just because we don’t want to be the first to go carbon zero, especially as China’s carbon footprint is big just because they are making stuff for us buy!

If we didn’t buy it, we would see their emissions drop.

So I’m making it clear that presents given to me should be limited to promises of a coffee or lunch, or an outing with friends and family after Christmas to cheer the New Year.

Making memories is so much more fun than accumulating more stuff I don’t need.

Homemade gifts from my beloved grandsons are the exception- they gave me bookmarks handcrafted from lolly sticks for my birthday, I love them and use them every day.

Telling everyone not to buy me a present means I have fewer presents to buy in return each year, and the ones I do buy are the things my family really want and are delighted to receive.

No more time or money wasted trudging round the shops looking for inspiration for that “difficult to buy for” person!

Let’s ignore the siren calls of the adverts and shops this year, and spend our Christmas taking care of ourselves, those we love, and our Earth, instead of fuelling climate change and wrecking everyone’s future.

It’s more Christmassy to give instead to a charity like Crisis at Christmas, knowing we’ve given someone in need a much Happier Christmas than they would have had otherwise.

Or do Secret Santa, each buying just one nice gift for one member of their family. Much less stressful!

It can be fun if you have a charity shop only rule, and set a low price limit, so everyone can have a laugh on the day, and not have huge, depressing credit card bills waiting for them in January.

Jill Bruce

Women’s Institute climate change ambassador

A lot has happened in the last year. Greta Thunberg has inspired school strikes around the world and Extinction Rebellion have very politely caused just enough disruption to focus attention on the climate crisis.

The media has begun to report climate change seriously.

Please join us on Friday, October 18 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at, the Auditorium, Essex Business School, University of Essex CO4 2SQ when five local students pleading passionately for their future.

They will be joined by Guy Smith, NFU Deputy President, and Charles Clover, Executive Director, Blue Marine Foundation; they will explain how we can stop making climate change worse on land and at sea.

Adrian Gault, Chief Assurance Officer, Committee on Climate Change (the body set up by the Government to tell them what needs to be done about climate change) will tell us what achieving net zero will mean in our own lives.

The event will again be chaired by Sir Bernard Jenkin MP. Following Hot Debates 1 & 2 he wrote to Ministers to tell them what we thought they should be doing, and I expect him to do the same this year.

Does it make any difference? This year Parliament has declared a climate emergency and the Government has committed, in law, to reach net zero UK carbon emissions by 2050, a few months after Sir Bernard, with many other MPs, signed the cross party letter backing net zero by 2050.

All of us acting together can make Government take notice of what we expect them to do.

Free registration on Eventbrite “Tackling Climate Change-the Hot Debate”, and we would be most grateful if you could put the attached poster up around your home and workplace

We hope to see you there.

Laurel Spooner

Climate change campaigner