Christmas is slowly creeping up on us and we can’t wait, after all it is the most wonderful time of the year.
Christmas is often full of friends, family, food and laughter, but there are still small, simple changes that we can make to all enjoy a green Christmas together! From eco-friendly Christmas gifts to homemade decorations that you can make and love for years to come, here are some of our top tips to help you enjoy a Green Christmas!
Christmas is all about giving back, and surprising those we love with thoughtful gifts and presents. Traditionally these wonderful gifts are adorned with wrapping paper, ribbons, bows and all of the extras to make them even more special.
However, a lot of wrapping paper cannot be recycled.
Simple paper wrap can be recycled however festive foiled or glittered paper cannot be and instead has to be discarded into general waste. Another issue that arises is that sellotape cannot be recycled either, so the metres of sellotape that is also stuck onto the wrapping paper, even if you use eco wrapping paper or recycled wrapping paper, affects where you discard it.
If you want to try zero waste Christmas wrapping then here are a few fun ideas to try!
Tape Free Wrapping
Why not swap disposable wrapping paper for reusable fabrics like beautiful scarves? This is a great way to give an extra gift and make wrapping more personal!
Simply wrap your gifts as you would normally, but use fabric instead of wrapping paper and replace non-recyclable tape for safety pins, or try to tie the fabric around itself in a bow if you can. This can be recycled and reused for gifts all year round, making it a great sustainable choice for gift giving, and as a bonus nothing ends up in the bin!
Make Your Own Wrapping Paper
This is a really fun and affordable way to give your gifts a thrifty touch, and is a great craft to do with younger members of the family! All you need is a roll of recycled paper, 100% recyclable tape such as non-reinforced gummed paper tape, and some vegetable dye to paint with!
Once you have decorated your wrapping paper, you can wrap like usual and use your recyclable tape to secure it in place! This means that all parts of the wrapping from the paper to the tape can be recycled properly!
Eco-Friendly Christmas Gifts
Did you know that approximately £42 million of unwanted Christmas presents are thrown out in landfill each year, giving us even more of a reason to be thoughtful about gifting this year. Rather than giving lots of physical gifts this year, why not give gift experiences instead? This will give your loved one a chance to make memories that will last a lifetime rather than a gift that will more than likely end up in a landfill at some point.
It is also a great idea to support small and local businesses when buying gifts this year. This will help to create more jobs and strengthens your local economy to provide more growth opportunities for the future. If you want inspiration then have a look at our Evolve advent calendar, where we are introducing a new sustainable small business that we love every day in the lead up to Christmas! Here are some more ways to gift more sustainably this festive season!
Sustainable Stocking Fillers
We are definitely not saying to forget about giving gifts this year, we all love unwrapping presents on Christmas, and it is tradition for a lot of us.
However, small stocking fillers can be tricky as they are often packaged in plastic or are hard to recycle, but why not take a more sustainable approach on stocking fillers this year?
Some great small sustainable stocking filler ideas could be:
- Reusable eco-friendly cotton pads - These are great for removing make up and applying products whilst producing no waste.
- Shampoo bars - These are a brilliant alternative to plastic bottled shampoo and conditioner, although the plastic may be recycled, these bars produce zero waste and often come in beautiful eco packaging.
- Natural skincare products - We have created a whole blog dedicated to the skincare products that are perfect for sustainable stocking fillers or secret santa gifts!
Green Christmas Table Gifts
The usual Christmas table may be adorned with food, drink, and Christmas crackers, but whilst they are loved by all the family, and provide a good laugh around the table, Christmas crackers aren’t the best for the environment. They are usually packaged in plastic and filled with small plastic toys that often get thrown in the bin and left in landfill, so they are actually more wasteful than we may think.
A more eco-friendly alternative to Christmas crackers is Christmas table gifts. These don’t have to be huge, expensive, wasteful presents for everyone at the table, but instead something small that they will enjoy.
Why not try upcycled old jars lying around your house and create unique mulled wine spice kits for everyone to enjoy, or homemade mince pies for everyone to tuck into! There are lots of different things that you can make for everyone to enjoy, and it gives your Christmas dinner an extra personal touch.
Food is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of Christmas, bringing everyone together to enjoy quality time, food, and family.
But, because it is such an important part of the big day we are prone to overspending and splurging on excessive amounts of food that will more often than not go to waste. According to research conducted a few years ago, it was predicted that more than 4.2 million dinners will be scraped into the bin at Christmas.
What To Do With Christmas Leftovers
Rather than wasting food that you’ve spent time, love and effort preparing and cooking, why not create something delicious using Christmas leftovers.
Vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips, carrots and brussel sprouts are often thrown away straight into the bin after Christmas, but there are so many healthy and delicious meals you can try so you don’t waste any good food!
These vegetables are great to use to make delicious soup, perfect to warm you up in the colder weather and a super easy way to get loads of nutrients in one bowl, and of course an amazing way to get kids to eat their five a day after indulging in all the Christmas chocolates and treats.
Or why not try and make your one Boxing Day bubble and squeak? All you have to do is roughly mash your potatoes and add in all of your chopped up vegetables, or whatever else you have leftover from your Christmas Dinner, and then gently fry in a pan until it is golden, bubbling and squeaking - delicious!
Often Christmas decorations are boxed up and hidden away for the majority of the year and from year to year, trends may change. This may mean that you decide to change your theme of decor with each Christmas, but unfortunately this isn’t the most sustainable thing to do. Rather than buying into trends that are easily disposed of and changed, invest in classic Christmas decorations that you will love for more than a few weeks a year.
Your New Sustainable Christmas Tree
There is an ongoing debate over whether real or fake Christmas trees are better for the environment, and it is all down to the carbon footprint.
The carbon footprint of a real Christmas tree depends on the method of how it is disposed, from wood chipper, bonfire or landfill. If you dispose of your Christmas tree via a wood chipper of bonfire, then it will have a carbon footprint of around 3.5kg of CO2, however if your tree ends up in landfill then that carbon footprint rises to 16kg of CO2. Whilst this may sound high, the carbon footprint of a standard artificial Christmas tree is estimated to be around 40kg of CO2, meaning that in order to make your artificial tree as eco-friendly as a real tree, you would have to reuse it for 12 years.
When it comes to decorating your Christmas tree, one of the first things that comes to mind is tinsel. Tinsel is usually made out of plastic which cannot be recycled, so there are much more sustainable options out there to decorate with. You could try decorating your tree with ribbon that has been taken off other things around your home and upcycled into Christmas decorations, or how about strings of beads or pearls that help to inject some personality into your Christmas tree, making it unique to you.
So with all these tips and tricks there is no doubt you’ll be trying to incorporate even a little sustainability into your Christmas this year! If you have any eco-friendly traditions, ideas, or tips then please let us know - we’d love to hear them!