Christmas is a wonderful time for giving, spending time with loved ones and eating plenty of delicious seasonal food. However despite all the joyful festivities, Christmas is also one of the most wasteful times of the year - overspending on products and decorations, and throwing away excess packaging, wrapping and food has a hugely detrimental impact on the planet. We’ve put together our top tips for keeping your environmental impact low this season, so you can focus on what really matters - having a relaxing, enjoyable Christmas holiday.
When it comes to Christmas shopping, be mindful of what you’re purchasing right from the start. Take plenty of reusable shopping bags with you, so you’re not accidentally picking up plastic bags on the way. Also, be restrained and thoughtful with what you buy - choose heartfelt gifts (Fairtrade and sustainable choices, if possible) and only buy what you really need. Opt to shop at local independent businesses to support your community, rather than big high street chains.
Once you’ve got all your gifts, it’s time to get wrapping. Even though it can be tempting to go all out with sparkly paper, ribbons, tags and flourishes, these items often aren’t recyclable (or reusable, once somebody has excitedly ripped them open). Instead, tone down your wrapping this year. Wrapping gifts in natural, minimalist brown paper has a much more rustic feel - and saves money, too. Decorate your gifts with twine and natural flourishes like holly berries, eucalyptus leaves and evergreen shrubbery.
Decorating your home can also lead to a lot of unnecessary impulse purchases and waste. Try to decorate your home with tinsel, baubles and lights you already own, instead of buying more every year - and if you do need to buy more, choose decorations that will last a lifetime. If you’ve got children, making decorations by hand is a fun activity for the whole family - collect pinecones and other natural bits and bobs, and paint them or cover them in glitter. Also, opt to stop buying brand new crackers - instead, create your own Christmas jokes and treats for the table.
Last but not least, Christmas dinner can be a huge source of food waste every year. It can be tempting to buy an immense amount of food, but try to be mindful that not all of it will get eaten. Shop at local farm shops and markets - you’ll be supporting local businesses, and treating yourself to fresher produce, too. If you’re not able to have a completely meat-free Christmas, try to buy less quantities of meat, as the production has a notoriously damaging impact on the environment.
There are plenty of little ways you can have a more eco-friendly Christmas this year - try a couple of our suggestions, and let us know if you have any more handy ideas or tips!