Christmas and sustainability aren't usually topics that go together very well. Christmas evokes images of overcooking, over-shopping, over-wrapping. Crackers in a plastic protective sleeve, with plastic toys inside. Ridiculous consumption of electricity so that we can enjoy twinkly Christmas lights lining our streets.
I don't know about your high streets, but growing up ours was a pretty feeble (but in hindsight, very sustainable in its meek modesty!) Going into central London was a different ball-game altogether, with bright and beautiful displays throughout the West End in particular. We absolutely loved the Christmas lights and stunning shop windows. In all honesty, (extreme over) consumption has been a new-ish concept for us in recent years, learning that some of the things we love can be so harmful to our planet.
So we feel so happy at the merging of our two conflicting worlds this year. Last week we attended a great event with Bottletop and #TOGETHERBAND to see the Regent Street lights turn on. When we were young and obsessing over Christmas lights, never did we imagine being in a sustainable fashion shop on one of the main shopping streets in London. Walking home, we wandered through Carnaby Street who have used Christmas lights to shine a light on the powerful theme of ocean conservation in collaboration with Project Zero. They tackle topics such as overfishing and pollution in a beautiful, colourful way on one of London's most fun streets. As if that wasn't enough, organisers have used over 1,500 recycled plastic bottles to create the ocean-themed display.
Then there's Eccleston Yard in Belgravia, where there is a multi-sensory installation with different coloured orbs emitting different vibrations which will have different mental and emotional impacts for passers-by be it energising, calming or calming the heart rate.
Later this week, on Thursday 21st November, the grand reveal takes place for Oxford Street's new lights. Their more traditional but less sustainable orbs have been replaced by state-of-the-art low consumption LED bulbs which consume 90% less electricity. 27 LED screens will drape the length of Oxford Street, with 220,000 efficient bulbs making you think you're gazing at the Northern Lights.
Whilst of course Christmas isn't the most sustainable time of year, it's incredible to see large organisations transition to be more mindful over consumption just as we have become over the last few years. It's unrealistic (and sad) to imagine a world where there were no festive lights whatsoever. So, whether it's about changing the purpose by sharing an impactful message, or reducing the electricity consumption by 90%, London is making huge progress - and we couldn't be prouder of our city.