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How to have a more sustainable Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Now I’m not here to stifle the joy. I love Christmas. Indulgence has become a key feature of it. Yet, being mindful and making some small changes can go a long way. You can actually really enjoy making Christmas more sustainable. Here are some of my favourite tips, pick and choose any that appeal to you and have a very Merry Christmas 🤶☃️.

Where to start?….

The tree

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(Last year’s tree!)

We are getting our Christmas tree & decorating it today. Exciting times.

The Carbon Trust states that a 2m-tall cut Christmas tree that ends up in landfill has a 16kg carbon footprint, about the same as taking three return flights from London to Australia!

About 8 million Christmas Trees are bought each year in the UK. What are the options?…

A real tree:

  • If you buy a cut Christmas tree (standard one) then you can look out that it’s certified as sustainable, such as with an FSC-certification. Once you’ve used it recycle it! Councils often have a designated day they will collect trees and they can be turned into all manner of things, such as wood chippings for children’s playgrounds or forest paths. Recycling trees in this way reduces the carbon footprint to 3.5kg.
  • You could buy a living tree with roots. This way you could pot it (or buy it in a pot), plant / have it outside for the rest of the year and use the same tree, which would hopefully be slightly bigger, the next year…. And so on!…. Or just like my younger self plant it in your parents garden so it can grow taller than the house…. Sorry Dad!
  • Tree rental, yes this is a thing! Some companies will even deliver and pick up your tree from you at the end of Christmas. Some companies I’ve found online:
      • Love a Christmas tree, Leicester
      • London Christmas tree rental, London
      • Cotswold Fir, Gloucester
      • Rental Christmas trees, Stroud

Artificial trees:

There is an environmental impact of creating plastic trees. For this to be offset you really need to use it for at least 10 years. If you are looking to get a new plastic tree how about looking for second hand ones on eBay or Gumtree etc?

The lights of Christmas – LED lights for sure have less environmental impact than the old ones, and cheap too. This said, don’t use this as an excuse to deck your whole house in them! Stick to what you need.

Christmas lunch

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The focus point of many people’s days (personally I love opening stockings and giving my gifts), but I do love the food too!

Turkey has become the classical Christmas meal.
You could try a plant-based lunch instead, there are some great alternatives to the Turkey. Here are some recipes I found online if you’re in need of some inspiration!

If this is not for you and you like the traditional Turkey lunch, try to buy the a Turkey of a size you’re actually going to eat. If you do over cater cut food waste by using every bit of the Turkey, from traditional boxy day Turkey sandwiches to making broth from the bones.
Need inspiration? Try these BBC Good Food Leftover recipes.

Whatever you choose to enjoy this Christmas try to minimise food waste. Freeze what you can’t use before it will go off, or donate to a food bank. Compost waste you do have.

Christmas wrapping

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  • Try to wrap in material which is not plastic. Brown paper & old newspapers can make surprisingly pretty wrapping. If you don’t like the faff of wrapping collect old gift bags and reuse these. Same goes for old wrapping paper, if you’re careful you can use paper you’ve been gifted to wrap next year’s presents. Try to minimise waste when wrapping a present – get creative, I find placing the object on a diagonal helps!
  • Ribbon? You can try drawing ribbon onto wrapping paper instead of buying the real thing! These swaps often make wrapping cheaper too!
  • Try to avoid glitter as this includes microplastics.
  • Re-use old Christmas cards for name tags, cut up the picture off the front of the card and keep them to use as name tags the following year, or just write the name on the wrapping – this is what I do.

Presents

  • Gift the gift of givingFind a cause the person you’re giving to is passionate about and support that for them. For example, this year I asked my parents to adpot an orangutan to support Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation for me instead of getting a material gift. You could also gift memberships to charities such as Friends of the earth, National Trust etc. You can also plant trees for someone! Look at treesforlife.org.uk or nationalforest.org.
  • Gift an experience – another good option. If you’re wanting to be as sustainable as possible try not to gift high-emission presents such as power boating, gifts including lots of travel or skydiving.
  • Gift a digital subscription – some families I know give magazine subscriptions at Christmas. Consider saving trees and go digital! What about an app subscription? – there are so many out there. Check out my 3 (so far) blogs on my favourite health and wellbeing apps for inspiration if you’d like:

Clothes

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  • So many people get a new Christmas jumper each year, reuse them! You don’t need a new one each year. If you do really want a new one consider getting it second hand e.g. ebay, depop, gumtree or a charity shop, or swap with you friends!
  • Wear the same thing to multiple different parties! If you don’t like the sound of that then maybe accessorise differently. If you really want more, again, use the circular economy of fashion, have you considered swapping outfits with friends, getting second hand ones from depop, ebay or charity shops or borrowing clothes?

Let me know if you like the sound of any of these and try them!

Have a lovely Christmas x

2 thoughts on “How to have a more sustainable Christmas”

  1. Great tips, thanks for sharing! If you want to know what sustainable gifts to give which are material check out my green gifts top 10. Keep up the good posts, small steps make the difference.

    Like

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