Happy Christmas! I’m delighted to say that this year I’m celebrating my most sustainable Christmas yet! I believe it’s all down to a combination of innovative ideas, new ways to shop, and my own attempts to be even more sustainable across the last year.
I really do think that if you’d like to be more sustainable, now is the perfect time to get started. Christmas brings a whole host of different activities, but also a bit more time to plan them. Hopefully, you’ll find it easier to make mindful choices, and store a few ideas to be more sustainable across the coming year too!
How to Have A Sustainable Christmas
Last week I had the pleasure of sharing my sharing my sustainable Christmas tips on BBC radio stations across the country, so I’m writing this guide with all the tips I shared in those interviews, as well as links to even more knowledgeable sources too!
I hope you’ll find a few that really work for you, and remember – eco perfectionism isn’t possible, so make some individual changes here and there, shop more sustainably (reduce how much you shop + shop better) and champion environmental action at any chance you get!
Go for Second-Hand Gifts. This year, Gumtree challenged me to source all my presents on their platform, and I’ve been so delighted with the results! If you’re going second-hand, go for personal presents and good quality items.
Buy Less, Buy Better. If you’re really stuck for presents, consider getting together with friends or family and getting that special someone a more expensive present that will truly be loved and will last. In the UK we bin over £40 million worth of gifts at Christmas – so let’s make each and every one count!
Consider Experiences over Stuff. I know I’m a difficult person to buy for, so sometimes an experience can be an easier pick than a physical item. I love cooking courses, but also consider restaurant vouchers, fitness classes, and one-off experiences too.
Make a DIY Christmas Present. It may well be “the thought that counts”, but what about making something truly beautiful too? I love all of Teri of The Lovely Drawer’s DIY ideas, and this round-up for gifts is perfect.
Brown Paper is Best. I’ve been wrapping my presents with brown paper and twine for years, after first seeing it on Pinterest and thinking it looked cute! What’s even better is that it’s all reusable and recyclable (whereas most wrapping paper isn’t).
Take the #CutTheWrap Challenge. This year the wonderful Zoe of EcoThriftyLiving shared a new initiative with me called Cut The Wrap. It’s a campaign to get more people to wrap their presents sustainably, and she shares a whole host of different ways to do so on her blog!
Do the ‘Scrunch Test’. And when it comes to recycling the wrapping paper you receive – do the scrunch test! If you can scrunch the paper into a ball and it stays scrunched, it’s most likely recyclable. Just remember to remove tags, ribbons, and any glitter paper from the recycling bag, as these won’t recycle.
Christmas Tree & Lights
Look for Tree Farms supporting Tree Aid. If you want to give something back this Christmas, look for trees that also support charity (or your local economy) over those at the supermarket.
Switch to LED Christmas Lights. After changing all the lights in my home to LED this year, I can safely say my Christmas lights are both LED, and powered using rechargeable batteries, all found in IKEA. What’s better than saving money and saving the planet at the same time?!
Drinks, Snacks & Treats
Go for Fairtrade Treats. This year I had the pleasure of trying Liberation Foods’ new Fairtrade caramelised cashews, chocolate, and cranberries mix that they made for Tesco. The best thing about them (other than the taste!) was that by buying them, you’re giving farmers an extra bonus at this time of year! I feel like that’s the true spirit of Christmas right there.
Go for Local and Organic Drinks. While I don’t tend to focus on alcohol on the blog, I do know it plays a big part in many of our Christmasses! Holly’s guide to sustainable drinks is a great read if that’s something you wish to focus on.
Dinner, Trimmings & Crackers
Eat Less Meat at Christmas. Or, why not go vegan? Meat is one of the hardest things to digest, so skip the bloat and go for more plant-based options. This year I’ve even found vegan pigs in blankets, which I can’t wait to tuck into!
Go Crackers Sustainably. One of the most creative Christmas guides I’ve seen this year comes from Izzy of The Quirky Environmentalist, who made all her own crackers! Everything can be recycled, and there’s no useless plastic toys in sight.
Make A Leftover Pie. Finally, make your leftovers into really good food! This year I’m following one of my favourite pie recipes to use up any leftover veggies. If you’re conscious about food waste (we waste 200,000 tonnes of food each Christmas in the UK), also consider trying a few of my food waste busting ideas that you can easily do all year round!