While Christmas is definitely the most wonderful time of the year, the ways we celebrate it don’t help the environment.
Following this year’s COP26, we are all aware of just how important it is to make every effort we can to be more sustainable. Small changes can make all the difference though, especially over the festive period when waste, consumption, and shopping are at an all-time high.
So, what changes can we make? From plantable Christmas cards to renting Christmas trees, here are some top tips on how to turn the family holiday green.
Opt for eco-friendly wrapping
On average, Brits use around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year, with researchers estimating that enough wrapping paper is used to gift wrap the island of Guernsey.
Look for cards and wrapping paper made from recycled or FSC-certified paper. Avoid plastic ribbon, tape, and foil-backed papers or those with glitter. These aren’t recyclable materials.
There are various tape-free wrapping techniques online to try if you’re looking to enhance your creative skills.
DIY crafts and presents
Another great way to help the environment and save money in the process is to make your own presents. Whether you love painting, sewing or baking, handmade items enable you to put your own stamp on a gift. The more personal and handmade, the more unique these gifts are.
Creating these handmade items is also a fun activity for the family during the weeks before Christmas. It allows for some added quality time spent with the kids, making memories that will last a lifetime.
Experiment with vegan recipes
The meat and dairy industries are responsible for more emissions than all the world’s planes, trains, cars, and boats put together. This Christmas, why not swap your turkey for a plant-based option instead?
Whether it’s a nut roast or a spicy pastry, the UK’s biggest supermarkets really do have something for everyone. Check out these great tips and recipes too!
Give your local shops and markets some love this Christmas. As well as supporting independent businesses, you’re likely to discover special finds you won’t get anywhere else.
Research shows that just under half of UK adults say they have received gifts they don’t want and will never use. Choosing a gift that lasts, such as frames, ornaments, and travel cups or mugs, will show value, purpose, and meaning to the person receiving it.
Buying second-hand items from charity shops like clothes, furniture, and refurbished technology, are also great ways to gift more sustainably as it saves on resources to make new products.
Reuse, reuse, reuse!
Just about everything used in the lead-up to Christmas can be reclaimed or recycled. Take your Christmas tree, for instance. Many local authorities offer a drop-off or kerbside tree recycling service. Taking advantage of this means your tree can be put to good use by being chipped and used locally.
Rather than buying new, you can upcycle old decorations or sew your own from spare materials around the house. You could use baubles as table decorations or place names, or you could use string to hang them on door handles.
Christmas doesn’t have to be a burden on the planet. It’s a time of fun, laughter, and love, and if we’re a little more aware, we can be mindful of the resources we’re using.
With a little effort and imagination, you can help to reduce the environmental impact of the holiday season.