Christmas is well and truly here, but if you’re worried about sustainability and the environment, the festive season can feel a bit overwhelming. With so much sparkle and excess, it can seem like the opposite of eco-friendly, but there are ways to celebrate while still considering our impact on the world around us!
We’ve put together some top tips and simple swaps to help make holiday celebrations a little more planet-friendly. Some might just be small steps, but every little helps—and perhaps some will even become new habits for years to come!
Shop Small & Shop Local
Whether it’s gifts or your Christmas dinner, choosing to shop locally and from small businesses cuts down on airmiles and also helps to support your local community. Pick up your parsnips and sprouts from your local farmer’s market, and check out independent retailers for gift ideas!
Opt For Waste-Free Gifts
Charity memberships, donations, experiences, events, courses, classes… There are so many gifts you can give that don’t need to involve any waste, packaging, or physical resources.
Whether it’s a cookery course, an exciting day out, or membership to something like the National Trust, there are waste-free options to suit almost everyone—and with no need to worry about things like shipping, they make great last-minute gift ideas too!
Gift Wrap Sustainably
In the UK it’s estimated that we get through 227,000 miles of wrapping paper every year—so it’s vital that as much as possible can be recycled. We know it might look tempting, but give the glitter a miss if you want more sustainable Christmas wrapping. Foil-backed wrapping papers are another no-go when it comes to recycling. If in doubt, “the scrunch test” can help you work out if wrapping paper is recyclable.
Remove any tape before recycling the paper—or, even better, try and challenge yourself to gift-wrapping without tape! Saving and reusing gift bags from previous years is another way to cut down on waste and give those bags plenty of use. The Soil Association has sustainable gift wrapping ideas, along with some decoration inspiration!
We’ve already mentioned shopping locally and heading to your local farmer’s market for your veg. Not only does this reduce your food’s airmiles and help support your local businesses, it also means you’ll be getting seasonal produce, grown locally in the UK.
Shopping and eating seasonally is a great way to reduce the environmental impact of the food we eat, and there’s no better time for this than Christmas! Our festive favourites, like parsnips and brussels sprouts, are all winter crops so you’ll find them in your local farm stores or markets. It’s said that brussels sprouts taste best after a frost, so that’s especially good news for us in the UK this year!
Reduce Food Waste
70% of the UK’s food waste comes from households. With so much festive food on offer at Christmas time, it’s important to reduce food waste as much as possible.Get creative with leftovers, invite friends or neighbours to share, and if you’re stuck for ideas, get online to discover recipes to use up your leftovers. Love Food Hate Waste is one resource full of recipes and tips for cutting down on food waste.