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How to be More Sustainable during Christmas?

rustic christmas tree and decorations

Christmas is one of the happiest times of the year. However, a merry and joyful holiday cannot usually be considered sustainable. Family get-togethers, abundant and comforting meals, colourful decorations, and, of course, the presents. It is all fun, but can we approach this festive season in a more eco-friendly manner? Let’s consider how we can be more conscious and sustainable.

Sustainable Christmas presents

Locally sourced and organic gifts

Buying local is a great way to promote and support local artisans and small businesses. Furthermore, we are more likely to find unique items. It is often possible to personalise such a gift to make it more meaningful for the recipient. Mass-production goods are less likely to have the same appeal. 

Experiences instead of physical gifts

We might be able to tailor the experience gift to the recipient’s interests to create a meaningful and memorable gift. Ideas? That might be cooking, art, or dance classes, spa days, concert or sports tickets, or subscriptions for services like audiobooks or streaming. Alternatively, a weekend getaway, a holiday or a dinner in a fancy restaurant could also make fantastic experience gifts. 

hot chocolate gingerbread cookies and sustainable christmas gifts

Gifts that promote a sustainable way of living

Sustainable living promoting gifts will also encourage environmentally conscious habits. Ideas? Eco-friendly beauty products, sustainable fashion, compostable phone cases, reusable shopping bags, solar-powered gadgets, organic cotton towels, reusable shoppers, bento boxes, wax wraps, stainless steel straws, reusable water bottles, composting bins etc.

Eco-friendly gift wrapping 

The key idea here is to avoid creating new waste. We can make unique gift wraps by upcycling old paper materials like magazines, maps, or newspapers. Otherwise, we can wrap a gift into another gift. A scarf, reusable fabric bag, T-shirt, etc. can all make a fun and stylish wrap. 

We can decorate with twine, cotton or wool yarn, dried flowers, pinecones, etc. 

Skip Christmas cards if you can. Otherwise, make your own or shop for sustainable options like recycled paper, biodegradable, or plant starter cards.

sustainable christmas gift wrapping

Sustainable Christmas decorations 

Reusable decorations for a sustainable Christmas

Most of us have Christmas decorations that we use year after year. There are various ways we can utilise these decorations creatively in case we grow bored with them. And if we need to buy something new, let’s opt for versatile and sustainable items that we will enjoy for years. It is a good idea to check local second-hand stores and local marketplaces for hand-made and sustainable items. 

Christmas Tree

We should all opt for a more sustainable option here. Many already own an artificial tree that can be used year after year. If you buy a live tree, see if you can find a potted one that can be planted afterwards. Live trees should always be purchased from sustainable and responsible companies. A better option could be sourcing a second-hand artificial Christmas tree. Or, if you are up for a challenge, get creative and build your version of a Christmas tree without buying anything new.

DIY decorations 

DIYing Christmas decorations might be great fun. Get kids, spouses, friends and other family members involved. Play around, get dirty and have lots of laughs. Ideas? Homemade wreaths from dried flowers, pinecones and recycled fabric, Cloth bunting from scrap fabric, Nature-inspired ornaments from pinecones, acorns or dried citrus slices.

diy clay christmas ornaments

LED Christmas lights

We love Christmas lights, but they are wasting so much energy. Use LED lights or other energy-saving lights as much as possible. 

Edible decorations 

Pop-corn or cranberries on a string make a perfect sustainable Christmas garland. Ginger cookies – lovely Christmas tree decorations. Have you tried making a miniature Christmas tree from candy for your table centrepiece? 

gingerbread cookie house

Sustainable Christmas Dining

Reduce Food Waste

First, plan all meals and estimate the number of guests to avoid over-preparing. It is a good idea to share your sustainability intentions with your guests and invite them to bring containers for leftovers. 

Second, store leftovers properly and use them creatively to prepare new meals. This way, nothing goes to waste.

Third, compost scraps. 

Fourth, donate surplus food to your local charities or shelters. 

Fifth, opt for seasonal food and try vegetable-based recipes for more sustainable Christmas celebrations. 

Sustainable Christmas Outfits

Do not buy anything new to wear. Dress up with what you already own. Or borrow from a friend. If that is not an option, check out second-hand shops and local sustainable brand stores. Steer clear of fast fashion

Final thoughts

We should all be more sustainable on Christmas and choose experiences over material possessions. After all, our goal is to create lasting memories full of joy. We can create a festive atmosphere with thoughtful gifts, eco-friendly Christmas decorations and reduced food and energy waste. That all, in turn, will help lower our environmental impact and foster a more conscious way of living. 

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