Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year. It’s a great chance for us to spend more time with loved ones and eat our weight in festive treats. I recently read an article about Christmas and how it can actually be quite unsustainable in some ways. For example, I read that on average, UK households use at least 4 rolls of Christmas wrapping paper and this all ends up thrown in the bin. In general a lot of Christmas decorations and food go to waste and into landfill.
It got me thinking that this year, I really want to find ways that I can improve my habits and create more sustainable solutions for Christmas. After researching into it, I found some great ways to be sustainable at Christmas and I wanted to share them with you:
1. Use reusable/eco-friendly wrapping paper
By using reusable paper, cloth or fabric, you are eliminating the waste of wrapping paper rolls. I actually heard of this idea a wee while ago when YouTuber and Vogue Shopping Editor Niomi Smart talked about doing it. Instead of sellotape, you can wrap in bows or artwork. I even saw a suggestion on a blog about how you can use last years Christmas cards as present tags to take your decorations even further.
If you don’t fancy these wrapping ideas, you can invest in a good gift box that can be reused or even create your own gift box. Gift boxes can create a more luxurious feel and look high quality. Our family has a tradition of exchanging Christmas Eve boxes and we reuse the same ones every year. They still look as good as the first year we got them.
2. Reusable crackers
My mum actually mentioned this one to me after reading about it in her Ideal Home magazine. The magazine advertised 6 crackers by Advent Of Change which are plastic-free, able to be reused and contain jokes written by 24 different celebrities. I’d never thought about reusing crackers but its something I will definitely try now. Crackers are also something you could make yourself and could be filled with more sustainable alternatives than the usual toys that normally just get binned.
I will now be considering how I can make the rest of my table decorations more sustainable such as reusing the same table cloth and napkins too.
3. Sustainable stocking fillers and shopping small
One of the best things we can do this year is to shop locally and support our small businesses. These businesses have had a tough year due to COVID and would appreciate any help they can get. Shopping with these brands can be more sustainable as they are either made to order, have less stock and they are usually handmade. Etsy is a great idea if you want to shop small this year! I’ve made a Supporting Small Christmas Gift Guide on my blog already if you are needing some inspiration and ideas.
Stocking fillers, because they are smaller tend to be less sustainable as they are often thought of last minute and can be throw-away items. I definitely recommend using these smaller and local businesses for your stockings and buying products that the receiver will actually get use out of.
4. Reuse your Christmas decorations or go hand-made
Despite what retailers might lead you to believe, you don’t have to buy new Christmas decorations every year. I definitely recommend investing in some really good decorations such as baubles, tinsel and lights that you can use for the next few years. Whilst that may cost you a bit to begin with, it’ll be worth it in the long run! Our family has two trees and our decorations for them are at least 5 years old. If you like having your tree to look different each year, I would either get another tree with separate reusable decorations or get two sets of decorations and alternate them on the one tree.
If you like getting new decorations each year, you can try making handmade ones. There are plenty of videos out there to show you how to make your own stockings, sewing or food gifts. With more of our time spent at home, this is the perfect year to get creative and make a handmade gift.
5. Use sustainable Christmas cards or e-gift cards
I put this one last as Christmas cards seem to be getting used less and less with social media making it easier to communicate with each other. However, I still recommend using sustainable Christmas cards if you can. Whilst you can recycle paper, a lot of Christmas cards contain glitter or something on the design that mean they cannot be recycled. You should watch out for that when you shop for them this year.
If you want to be even more sustainable, you could send an e-gift card as this allows for a completely paperless transaction while still giving the same message.
Have you got any tips on how to make Christmas a more sustainable event? Let me know in the comments!
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*Disclaimer- The photos used in this post are not my own and are all sourced from Pinterest.