Tips For A Joyful & Sustainable Christmas
Updated: Dec 7, 2020
There is no better time than now, to think about creating a joyful & sustainable Christmas. If you're already planning your festivities, writing your shopping lists and buying gifts, here are some ways to reduce your impact, save money and waste, that you can easily and seamlessly include in your planning.
1: Meal plan and meal prep. By planning ahead, you're more likely to cut waste. Plus planning ahead gives a fantastic opportunity to get excited about your meals and add in festive treats. Some things are great to prep ahead of time and freeze, like homemade vegetable spring rolls. Reducing food waste is also a good way to save money, without skipping on things that you love.
2: Avoid glitter, including eco-glitter. I'm relieved to see many brands boycotting glitter this year. Not only is it really annoying (the glitter on crackers, sprayed over Christmas dinner is a particular annoyance!) but glitter is microplastic, which is practically impossible to remove from waterways once it gets there. New research also shows eco glitter isn't as great as we hoped. It's best to avoid it if you can.
3: Buy from independent brands/ small businesses wherever you can. This year has been especially hard for small business, when you buy gifts with them, you support a family business, you support a craftsperson. If you'd like some small brand inspiration, we have a gift guide full of amazing brands.
4: Make your own crackers. Instead of a glitter covered cracker filled with plastic rubbish that you'll use once and snap, or will get kicked under the sofa never to be seen again, why not try to make your own? There are lots of blogs with how-to's, and you can make your crackers personalised with genuine little gifts that you loved ones will love. Why not put the joker in charge of the jokes? Many of the how-to's also use household items (like loo rolls) too, so reusing things you have around the house that are heading for the recycling bin anyway. This is one of the tips that does require a little planning, but now is the perfect time!
5: Rent your tree. Every year up to 7 million Christmas trees are landfilled. Instead of buying a cut tree, why not buy a tree that is alive and can be use again and again! As it grows it will sequester carbon- and purify the air. It also prevents a LOT of waste. With new tree rentals popping up- it's best to google "Christmas tree rental near me". An example is Christmas On The Hill, who rent trees. Many are already sold out though, so be quick. Otherwise, register interest for next year and support the circular economy in a truly festive way!
You could also buy your own potted tree. We did this a few years ago, and have a little tree that comes in for a few weeks every year. They can be fairly pricey (ours was £35), you do need a garden for the tree to live and to water it, so they're not a commitment free option. But if you can, they're so rewarding!
If a real tree isn't for you, and you're interested in an artificial tree but aren't sure it's sustainable, there are options. If you buy a fake tree that you commit to using for decades, it can offset a real cut tree. Even better, would be buying a second hand tree- they're really common in charity shops, or on eBay. Committing to your tree includes promising to mend it, and buying one that will stand the test of time...
Lastly, you could forage for greenery to decorate and miss the tree entirely. Just remember to be a responsible forager (you can read more in our foraging guide) and to not pick more than you need and always compost your foragables after Christmas. Also- be aware that some species aren't good to have around pets- so make sure you know what you're bringing in your home. Below is our tree from last year, it was perfect for a small space. We composted it afterwards too.
6: Shop your wardrobe! There has never been a better Christmas to avoid fast fashion! You might be sad about the lack of office Christmas parties or work Christmas meal, but this does mean a fantastic opportunity to shop what you already own, to get festively dressed up at home, without buying anything new. Spend the evening fishing out your sparkly, velvety christmassy specials, that have been sat for a year or more. Appreciate the lesser worn items in your own wardrobe. Whilst checking your own collection for things that make you feel fab, if you find things you know you won't wear- pass them on. Either sell or donate! Not only will you save money but you'll reduce the impact that fast fashion has (especially for an item you'll rarely wear!)
7: Reuse. We've all heard about reusing, right? Well it's a great time to really put it into practice. Especially with 3 weeks (as of writing) to get ready, it's really easy. Whether that's avoiding single use cutlery at the family dinner and simply using your own cutlery and washing it up, committing to reusable wrapping fabric, making reusable hats or more. Think about what's manageable for you. This year, I am making a personal effort to make more reusables for Christmas- as I have more time inside. Whether thats an advent calendar, cracker hats or Christmas tree decorations, it's worth remembering that hand made Christmas items are wonderful things to pass down generations and reuse every year! There are some amazing small brands that make items for you, if you're not creatively inclined. These absolutely beautiful reusable Christmas hats are made by Dougie and the Dodo on Etsy!
8: Ask for specific gifts. If you're worried about waste and/ or are also hard to buy for, write a list. Ask for items that you need or want, instead of waiting for a surprise. This way, you'll get what you wanted and you'll save the gifter money (over buying you things you don't want). If you don't need anything, consider asking for a donation to a charity of your choice.
9: Stick to LED lights. Try stick to LED lights if you can, for your Christmas lights. They save energy and look just as pretty!
Lastly, my biggest tip is to be mindful. Whether it's planning your shopping (for you and your gifts) properly, being mindful about what you're gifting, what you're consuming, how you're wrapping and more. Follow these tips, but you can also do so much more, just by being a little bit more mindful. Share your own tips with us, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!