This Christmas more than ever I’m thinking about how I can make things a little more sustainable. I used to think it would be difficult to have a green and eco-friendly Christmas and make the day less enjoyable. But it turns out you can still enjoy Christmas as usual whilst being sustainable. So here are my top 30 tips to having a sustainable Christmas without having to make massive changes to the way you celebrate.
In The Home
There is a lot of debate around real or artificial trees. If you already own an artificial tree then keep using it. If you are buying a new tree then the best option is to buy a real tree. Look for FSC and soil association certification. If you really want an artificial tree, buy high quality that will last for 8+ years.
Use energy-efficient LED lights, these use less energy so will save you money and last longer
Change bulbs not lights. Don’t throw away your lights when a bulb goes just replace the bulb.
Use a timer for your lights to make sure they are switched off at night. Also, make sure you turn them off when you go out.
Decorate with nature, bring the outside in by making your own wreath with holly and ivy or decorating with dehydrated fruit (which happens to smell amazing)
Choose tree ornaments with meaning that you will look forward to bringing out every year. Buy good quality which will last for years to come.
If burning candles look for ones made with soy, beeswax or natural vegetable wax which are biodegradable and smoke-free
Less is more, don’t feel the need to buy lots just to fill the space beneath the tree
Use sustainable wrapping paper. Avoid glossy or metallic paper which is difficult to recycle. Look for recycled paper or use other methods. Leotie Lovely has some great green wrapping ideas.
Reuse last year’s cards as gift tags
Avoid sending lots of Christmas cards, send friends and family an e-card or make an effort to see them in person (much better than a card)
Give handmade gifts
Don’t give gifts that require batteries (parents will thank you for it)
Avoid plastic children’s toys look for ones made with natural materials. There has been a lot of research showing that young children gain very little from plastic toys whereas natural materials spark learning.
When shopping say no to plastic bags and bring your own re-useable ones with you
Food & Drink
Whether you eat turkey or not buy local, organic and free-range (meat, not carrots although free-range carrots sound kinda cool)
Skip disposables. If you can’t use your fancy plates at Christmas when can you? Use cloth napkins and tablecloths which can be washed and used again next year
Save your leftovers. Look up a few different recipes to make the most of you leftovers. Make sure you have some Tupperware to store everything and freeze what you don’t think you’ll use over the next few days.
Plan meals ahead and buy only what you need (remember shops are only shut for one day)
Cut waste. Avoid buying food with excessive packaging.
Compost your scraps
Don’t throw away your foil, clean it and recycle
Use a natural cleaner to clean up afterwards, only run a full dishwasher load and wash your napkins with other laundry
Celebrate together, instead of sending cards and gifts make the time to spend with family and friends
Use public transport when you can
Car share when visiting family. If you have to travel on Christmas day car share with other family members