10 Tips for a more sustainable Christmas

Christmas presents shouldn't harm our planet. Minimizing food waste, wrapping with recycled paper, buying second-hand and making planet-friendly consumer choices: you can enjoy the Christmas time and show your beloved your gratitude and love in many ways respecting our planet. 

It’s sad to realize that one of the most wonderful time of the year is often the most “wasteful”. Only UK generates about 30% more waste over the holidays, throwing away more than 100 million black bags and 2 million turkeys.

Rampant consumerism is engrained in our society, but it is totally unsustainable. While businesses should offer better, greener alternatives, any small action done individually can make a big difference collectively.

1. Rent a Christmas tree, or dispose of your tree properly

Real Christmas trees are more sustainable than artificial ones. In fact, one research study concluded that you shall your fake tree for 20 years to be greener.

Once the Christmas season is over, take your tree to a recycling centre where it can be shredded and reused locally as bark chippings or environmentally friendly animal bedding.

2. Choose the right wrapping paper

Unfortunately, very little wrapping paper is recyclable – mostly thanks to the dyes and plastic involved in making it shiny, the glitter, or the sticky tape still stuck to it. If you can’t avoid using it, opt for plain, recyclable paper or tissue paper with paper strings – which can look remarkably chic - and re-use the last year's wrapping paper whenever possible.

Another option is to wrap with fabric – they can be re-used again and again. 

sustainable wrapping paper for gifts

3. Choose sustainable decorations

Decorations made from recycled wood, fabric, and glass make great alternatives to plastic or PVC options that are non-recyclable. When choosing decorations, we'd recommend opting for classic designs that will be loved for years, as opposed to trend pieces that you'll be tired of by next Christmas.

4. Gift sustainably

There are lots of ways to give thoughtful, sustainable gifts that don’t harm the earth. With fashion under a microscope for its environmental impact, the stigma against second hand is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

If you have to buy new, think of more sustainable gifts like reusable coffee cups, straws, water bottles and beeswax wraps (some of them you can find in our shop).

5. Switch to led Christmas lights

LEDs are much more environmentally-friendly than traditional twinkling incandescent lights because they use up to 80% less energy.

If every UK household swapped a string of incandescent lights for its LED equivalent, it could save more than €12 million and 29,000 tonnes of CO2, just during the 12 days around Christmas.

christmas led lights

6. Bring your reusable bags for Christmas shopping

Make sure you're prepared with a few reusable bags when you go for Christmas shopping. It will reduce your plastic consumption.

7. Send forest-friendly or plantable Christmas cards

When it comes to cards, although it is so nice to receive a lovely Christmas note or thank you letter, it is estimated that nearly a billion Christmas cards end up in the bin, the equivalent of 33 million trees.

A quarter of us no longer write Christmas cards, but there is a way to send seasons greetings been greener:

  • Look for cards with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) mark. This guarantees the paper has been produced sustainably and ethically;
  • Plantable cards are a great option with a double purpose;
  • Recycle or compost your cards in January or turn them into decorations for next year.

8. Invest in a reusable advent calendar

Fill it with a variety of gifts such as handmade truffles, reusable decorations or kind notes.

reusable advent calendar for kids

9. Reduce your food waste for Christmas dinner

Most of us are pretty good at getting creative with our leftovers throughout the year, but when Christmas comes we can be a little more wasteful. Carefully plan the meals and how to use leftovers is crucial.

10. Avoid disposable tableware when hosting

It seems an easy solution, if you're hosting lots of friends and family over Christmas and don't have enough, to opt for disposable tableware that can simply be thrown in the bin once the party is over. However, many of these single-use plastic items are non-recyclable and end up going straight to landfill. You can choose reusable options.