A brand new, alternative Christmas experience designed and curated by HemingwayDesign will be launching at Westgate Oxford later this month – this year the centre will be home to ‘WasteLess Wonderland’ a contemporary reinterpretation of the classic Christmas market with a sustainable theme.
WasteLess Wonderland will showcase some incredible talent from the city and beyond as part of a Christmas market experience which will offer ‘good for-the-planet’ gifts from independent designer makers, festive food produce, and street food from local suppliers as well as workshops that reuse and repurpose leftovers from Christmases past.
Launching on Friday 24 November and running until 22 December, guests will be able to experience an eclectic, festival line-up of attractions, events and experiences including Christmas star-making workshops using only wood offcuts, kaleidoscope gift-making using recycled Christmas cards and Japanese zero-waste gift-wrapping courtesy of the Furoshiki Wrap Company.
Guests will have the chance to go for the personal touch and craft some homemade decorations such as wreath-making using natural resources, seasonal foliage and adornments that can be found in your garden.
There are expected to be more than 30 activities, attractions and traders including designer-makers selling slow fashion and reworked vintage across the month-long experience. There will be something for all the family including weekend workshops, interactive elements and entertainment – there will even be a toy swap shop gift exchange.
Three food brands from Oxfordshire will be part of the experience – the Wonky Food Company will be selling jars of great-tasting relishes that use imperfect and surplus fruit and veg that helps tackle food waste; Climatarian Kitchen will be serving street food dishes all made from surplus food; while Damascus Rose, a social enterprise supporting refugee women in Oxford, will be selling delicious Middle Eastern food.
For the musically-minded, there will be an opportunity to play your favourite Christmas tunes with The Junk Orchestra’s giant Music Mushrooms – the orchestra is a supersonic collection of re-invented objects, recycled into musical instruments.
A bespoke event for Westgate Oxford this Christmas created by HemingwayDesign, WasteLess Wonderland will be adorned with a striking design that resourcefully reimagines cast-offs from Christmases past, breathing new life into leftover materials. Working with John Lewis Partnership’s Creative Studio, surplus shelving has been repurposed into market stalls and set flats have been reused to build part of the street food kitchen.
What’s more, each Friday will see WasteLess Wonderland host ‘Friday Lates’ from 5-9pm. A pop-up bar from Toast will be exclusive to Friday Lates, with the company’s award-winning craft beer brewed with surplus fresh bread that would otherwise go to waste – Toast’s profits go to charities working to fix a wasteful food system.
Friday Lates will also include the ‘Recycled DJ Party’ with Charity Shop DJ, who use vinyl records sourced solely from charity shops to trigger memories. Guests can pick a record, get behind the turntables and have a go at being a DJ themselves, dedicating their tracks to friends at the event.
Oxford-Based Annie Sloan, CBE, inventor of Chalk Paint and one of the UK’s most influential designers, will be part of the launch day activity. Annie will be showing visitors how to repurpose furniture using paint as well as a live demonstration painting a 10ft repurposed plywood Christmas tree.
Brendan Hattam, Centre Director at Westgate Oxford, said: “This is a never-seen-before festive experience and we are delighted to be pioneering our WasteLess Wonderland for the first time in the UK, here in Oxford.
“There’s going to be so much to do, see, explore, experience and taste, and all with a unique Christmas twist – we’re really excited about the line-up and cannot wait to unveil our exclusive new festive attraction next month.
“We all have a part to play in creating a more sustainable future and we believe this year’s Christmas experience will have the same Westgate festive magic, while encouraging guests to think about recycling, reusing and wasting less.”
Wayne Hemingway from Hemingway Design said: “Whilst most of us love Christmas, it’s a time when we buy more than we need and then there are those well-meant but unwanted gifts.
“It's the most wonderful but wasteful time of the year. At a time when we must think about the future of the planet and its resources, and whilst the ‘cost of living crisis’ continues to impact on many people’s daily lives, the time is right for a fresh look at city centre seasonal celebrations. WasteLess Wonderland does that in a celebratory way without dialling down the joy.”
According to Government statistics, at this time of year around 30% more waste is generated, including more than 1 billion Christmas cards and 500 tonnes of Christmas lights which are thrown away each year.