A Sustainable Christmas: 7 Eco-Friendly Holiday Tips

Guide for a Sustainable Christmas

It’s almost here – the most wonderful time of the year! Mulled wine brewing. Fairy-lights twinkling. Tinsel hanging. Christmas jumpers flaunting.

But, lurking behind the magic is an unsettling – and quite often overlooked – reality that perpetually taints the Christmas experience: overconsumption.

By Christie Johnson

wooden table and small christmas trees

The hedonic treadmill many of us hop on this time of year has led to some not-so-festive facts:

7 Sustainable Christmas Tips

In the face of a burgeoning climate crisis, it’s time to find alternatives to the groundswell of unsustainable activities that dominate the festive period.

So, let’s make this Christmas a conscious one.

Here are some top tips on how to be more sustainable this holiday season.

sustainable christmas: sustainable secret santa

1. Sustainable Secret Santa

How many Secret Santa gifts have you received over the years that were either thrown away (almost) immediately – or, are still gathering dust at the bottom of your wardrobe?

Let’s put an end to the needless – and often plastic – gifts that traditionally come with the Secret Santa territory.

If you are organising Secret Santa this year, why not make preloved or handmade gifts a prerequisite? Alternatively, organise a collection and donate to a charity– see point 4!

sustainable christmas: eco wrapping paper

2. Eco Wrapping Paper

Beautifully wrapped Christmas presents under the tree are very aesthetically pleasing; however, most decorative wrapping paper contains unsustainable materials – such as glitter and foil – that can’t be recycled.

Rather than wrapping presents in plastic this year, opt for colourful fabrics or paper that is recycled or FSC certified. You could even adorn your gifts with decorative fabric ribbons that can be used again for future holidays!

sustainable christmas: recycled or handmade cards

3. Recycled or Handmade Christmas Cards

Try reducing the number of cards you send in the post this Christmas.

Look at switching to paperless e-cards, recycled, FSC certified or handmade alternatives. For example, plantable Christmas cards – made from biodegradable eco-paper interlaced with seeds – are a great zero- waste alternative. Once you’ve finished displaying your card, plant it and watch it grow!

sustainable christmas: give a gift to the planet

4. Donate to an Environmental Charity

If you are short on present ideas this Christmas, why not give a gift to the planet instead? From tree-planting schemes right through to animal adoption programmes, there are a myriad of environmental causes you can support this Christmas.

sustainable christmas: eat more plants

5. Go Plant-Based

Turkey, cheese, chocolate, pigs in blankets –there are many delicious foods to relish in over the festive period.

As the world’s appetite for meat and dairy explodes, the environment continues to pay the price. Animal farming is very resource intensive and requires a plethora of land, energy and water. Huge areas of essential rainforests, wetlands and grasslands are relentlessly destroyed for ranching and animal feed. Livestock farming is responsible for 60% of the agricultural industry’s total greenhouse gas emissions, whilst agriculture and deforestation account for a quarter of the world’s emissions.

The plant – based diet is becoming increasingly more popular –and accessible – in recent years as a growing number of individuals, brands and supermarkets now offer affordable veggie and vegan alternatives. Why not check out the likes of Deliciously Ella and Fearne Cotton for some yummy festive recipes?

If the temptation for turkey dinner is simply too great, buy organic meats and support small – scale farming wherever possible.

sustainable christmas: choose ethical brands

6. Choose Sustainable and Ethical Brands

If you’re looking to buy new this Christmas, stick to sustainable and ethical brands that prioritise eco-friendly materials, fair working conditions and sustainable manufacturing. Remember – it’s always better to buy quality over quantity!

Check out our Sustainable and Ethical Brand Guides for some gift inspiration.

sustainable christmas: sustainable certifications

7. Sustainability Certifications

Sustainability certifications are a great way to help consumers identify which brands follow sustainable and ethical processes. Here are just some examples of certifications to look out for when Christmas shopping this year: