How to have an eco-friendly Christmas

A lot of us are becoming more conscious of how eco-friendly our home is and during the Christmas season it can sometimes be difficult to be environmentally friendly in all aspects of Christmas preparation. However, it is possible – all it takes is some preparation and planning ahead. Here we share how to have an eco-friendly Christmas.

Avoid pointless stocking fillers and presents

It is common for people to panic shop and end up buying items that people will not have much use for or simply buy things for the sake of it. This is not the best way to shop as it leads to huge amounts of waste. What is the point of buying something generic that the recipient will not get a lot of use out of and in reality will probably just keep hidden in a drawer? Plan your presents carefully in advance to ensure you buy them something they need or will definitely use.

Buy things that are made to last as well. Think quality over quantity to ensure you are reducing waste as much as possible. Try and avoid presents that come with large quantities of plastic packaging.

The greener the tree the better!

Consider carefully where your Christmas tree is coming from if you buy real trees. When Christmas tree shopping, search for the FSC certified logo. This symbol helps ensure that the tree has been grown in a sustainable way which doesn’t cause environmental damage. For additional reassurance, aim to get one that is also certified by the Soil Association. This means that the tree is guaranteed to be pesticide-free and organic.

Although real Christmas trees have a significantly lower carbon footprint than artificial trees, many of us opt for an artificial one for many reasons. The downside to artificial trees is that they involve a huge amount of plastic and energy consumption during manufacturing. When buying your tree, always aim to buy one that will last you as many years as possible. If you notice your tree is damaged when you are retrieving it from the garage or attic, buy a new stand or head to a DIY store to fix a branch rather than a whole new tree if possible.

Go green with your gift wrapping

The wrapping paper options we now have are seemingly endless. However, a problem with a lot of wrapping paper is that they are made with mixes of materials that are almost impossible to recycle. Not all local councils accept wrapping paper so you must check your local rules before the season begins. Also, aim to avoid glittery paper and opt for plainer kraft paper instead. You can still make your presents look beautiful with more simple paper, then accessorise it with string, holly sprigs, or even dried orange peel.

Shopping for sustainable wrapping paper is luckily becoming easier each year. More and more retailers are banning glitter from their gift wrap and Christmas cards which is brilliant news.

Have a reusable advent calendar

Why not invest in a reusable advent calendar rather than buying a new one each year? They look beautiful and the design options are endless. The joy of a reusable advent calendar is that you can personalise the treats and switch them up each year.

Use LED lights

When choosing your Christmas lights, go for LED lights where possible. They are 80% more efficient than traditional lights, making them an obvious choice when aiming to be more environmentally friendly. They can sometimes be more expensive but tend to last longer which is another benefit.

Be careful with Christmas cards

Similar to wrapping paper, a lot of Christmas cards are covered in glittery designs which means they cannot be recycled. Choose Christmas cards that can be recycled or better yet are made from recycled paper. Whilst it is lovely to send and receive Christmas cards, they can contribute to a large amount of Christmas waste once the season is over. Consider sending ecards instead. If you do want to send physical Christmas cards, send them as early as possible to ensure they are on display for the longest possible time. Before you throw away the cards you have received, see if you can turn any of them into gift tags for next year.

Choose sustainable decorations

One of the best parts of Christmas is decorating the house. Turning our homes into winter wonderlands is so much fun, especially as the cold, dark nights draw in. Instead of opting for glittery decorations made of plastic, try and choose more sustainable materials such as wood. An even better option is to forage for your own decorations. Head to your local woodlands and see if there are any pine cones of pieces of holly you can take. Just ensure you always follow the foraging rules and that you are taking from the correct areas and are leaving enough for everyone else and wildlife to enjoy.

Make your own wreath

Not only is it more sustainable to create your own wreath, but it’s also a lot of fun and a great chance to be creative. Head outdoors and collect foliage and berries. Finish with orange slices, cinnamon sticks, and ribbons for the perfect festive wreath. If you are not sure where to start, there are plenty of tutorials online with step by step instructions.

Be sustainable with your crackers

Crackers are a Christmas staple but a lot of the crackers can not be recycled and also contain small plastic toys that no one wants. Swap the novelty gifts for something your family and friends will actually want. Choose crackers that can be recycled whenever you can. Alternatively, you can buy reusable crackers. Not only can you place your own personalised gifts in them, but you can also enjoy them year after year.

Source your festive food sustainably

Where possible, buy your Christmas food from local stores. Going to your local butcher for your meat reduces your carbon footprint significantly, shows your support for a local company, and also means you know where your meat is coming from.

Christmastime often involves huge amounts of waste due to the increased amount of products and food we buy. Making small changes and becoming more eco-conscious in all aspects of our Christmas preparations and celebrations means that it is now easier to have an eco-friendly Christmas.