The Enormous Turnip or having an environmentally-friendly Christmas

I remember reading the story of The Enormous Turnip to my children when they were small. It’s a Russian tale that has been rewritten and adapted many times over. It’s a lovely, simple story with timeless messages for everyone, not just children.

The Story

Cow and turnipAn old man tries in vain to pull an enormous turnip from his garden. One by one, a variety of characters help the old man, but it’s only when a little mouse joins the living chain that they succeed in pulling the enormous turnip from the earth.

The moral of the story is that collaboration is important and even the smallest input can have a huge impact on the outcome of many situations.

The crazy season

Whatever you call this time of year,  a lot of us are currently ramping up our efforts to get organised for the festivities. There are places to visit, functions to attend, people to meet, lots of stuff to sort and organise, and all on top of our already busy life schedules. Through the madness of it all, few of us have time to breathe let alone stress over climate change or the environment.

So what has this got to do with The Enormous Turnip, you might well ask? When this simple little story came to mind recently it got me thinking about the busyness of this time of year and how easy it is to forget our good intentions of trying to do more to help the planet.

Every little helps

Earth needs our help now. The thing to remember is that no matter how small your effort, it all adds up. Think of the little mouse in the story and do whatever you can. Every little helps.

Here are a few practical tips to help you have a more environmentally-friendly Christmas.


-Remember to carry a reusable carrier bag in your handbag, coat pocket or car

-If you are shopping in a small town, wear practical footwear so you can park the car and walk to and from the shops, rather than driving from shop to shop.  The exercise will do you good and you never know whom you might meet.

-If you live in the city, consider taking public transport.

Food and drink

-Don’t forget to carry your reusable water bottle and coffee cup.  Shopping can be thirsty work.

-If you tend to buy food-to-go, keep a re-usable container and cutlery in the car.  It’s an idea to keep reusable plastic cutlery in your bag so you can refuse any offered at the deli counter.

Gift buying

-Could you buy experiences rather than things?

-Would a donation to a favourite charity be the ideal gift for someone on your list?

-Try not to buy disposable, single use items, if possible.

-Consider book and gift tokens.

Gift wrapping

Christmas gift

Image by monicore from Pixabay

-If you can’t re-use last year’s wrappings and feel it necessary to buy new ones, consider paper gift bags or boxes. These can be used again whereas wrapping paper usually ends up being ripped off and discarded. Most wrapping paper is not recyclable either so it’s not environmentally-friendly.

-Try to stay away from foil or plastic wraps as these can’t be recycled. If you need to wrap something, brown paper is the best option as it can be recycled.

-Better still, consider using a fabric tea towel or a cotton carrier bag instead of paper.  These will last a long time and you might inspire the recipient to begin making little changes too.

Never underestimate the ripple effect of your actions! Have you any tips for an environmentally-friendly Christmas?