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I’ve been really excited about writing this blog post because the more I think about it, the more ideas I get! In the past few years, I have tried to add in little ways to be more eco-friendly. In this guide, I’ll be sharing some ideas and products for you to have a sustainable Christmas.
Decorations are a key part of Christmas but this can be where a lot of waste is produced. One thing I will say is that if you already have plastic decorations, continue to use them. There’s nothing worse than throwing away a usable item just to look more eco-friendly.
Here we find ourselves at the great Christmas tree debate. Is a real tree or a fake tree better? I debate with myself every year which is better and I honestly have no idea. On one hand, we are always told that cutting down trees is bad but at Christmas tree farms, they get replaced so it isn’t as bad. Plus, in most places, the trees are turned into mulch which is a huge plus. With a fake tree, it can last for years and years but it does end up in a landfill at the end of the day. It is such an interesting topic and if you want to read more, definitely check out this blog post from Michelle.
In our house, we have 2 real trees and 2 fake trees. We have had one of the fake trees for longer than I have been alive and I’m sure we will use it until it breaks!
I love the idea of a natural wreath! You can get a base, or you could probably make one out of twigs etc. I would love to make one and wish I had this year. You can get acorns, pine cones, berries and leaves to make it so pretty!
Related post: How to have a sustainable Halloween
You can get so many cute kits to make felt or knitted baubles. Or you can get handmade ones if you aren’t into that kind of thing.
These are a few of my favourites:
- Make your own felt Robin* £2.75
- Make your own felt Reindeer* £2.75
- Make your own felted baubles* £15
- Homemade felted penguin* £5+
- 3 gingerbread people baubles* £12
I saw this cool video on how to make your own star by Forestry England. You can watch it here. One of my favourite tree decorations to make is orange with cloves in it. Last year we didn’t have an orange, so I used lemon instead.
Read the full blog post on eco-friendly decorations 🎄
Christmas crackers were the first thing that I swapped. 2 years ago I got a plastic-free cracker kit from Oxfam which came with a joke & a hat. I bought my own little gifts to put inside, personalised for each person. I had a lot of fun with it! There are lots of options when it comes to crackers, you don’t have to make your own.
The lovely Bea from Keep This Cracker contacted me to share her reusable Christmas crackers with you! I had no idea that Christmas crackers could be reusable, but they look so amazing. They are plastic-free, all materials from the UK and are Forest Stewardship Council certified.
Some of my favourites:
- Reusable crackers £20.95
- Plastic-free crackers with wooden decorations £15
- Plastic-free crackers with RSPB pin badges £15
Table cloths & napkins
A lot of people use single-use table cloths and napkins out of the convenience of just throwing them away when they become dirty. A better idea is to make one purchase and wash it with your laundry! This is a much more eco-friendly and sustainable practice.
A few favourites:
- Christmas themed reusable napkins* £3.60+
- Christmas napkins* £6+
- Christmas gnome napkins* £12.95
One of the best ways to incorporate sustainability at Christmas is to give sustainable Christmas presents! I have created 2 eco-friendly gift guides which you can read below:
Wrapping is an important factor when trying to have a sustainable Christmas. Last year I attempted to do some origami wrapping which I only managed for one present! I watched countless videos but I’m awful at origami so I just couldn’t work it out. You might have better luck though 😊
If you can’t do origami, you could buy some plastic-free wrapping paper*, use newspaper, tissue paper or even a scarf! It’s nice using plain brown paper, then you could add some Christmassy stamps on each one (I also attempted that a few years ago!). Or, you could use reusable gift bags*. Another important part of wrapping gifts are what you use to keep the paper together. Some people like to use string, twine* or my personal favourite paper tape*! You can get lots of pretty patterns of paper tape.
This year I have bought my Christmas cards from Suzanne Marie Papiere. You might remember her from my small businesses gift guide last year where I fell in love with her shop! I just love the idea of plantable cards.
Here is what I got:
Buy the plantable Christmas cards* £12+
For as long as I can remember, we have cut up old Christmas cards to make gift tags. I always found making them really fun and then getting to pick out who would get which tag. I really like this idea because we are upcycling and reusing Christmas cards. However, this year I have gone a different route. I saw that Suzanne sold plantable gift tags and I just couldn’t resist them! My family are big on planting so I know they will be used.
Here’s what I got:
Food waste is a big thing over Christmas. Often we overbuy and then don’t end up eating all the food. Here are a few ways you can reduce your food waste over Christmas:
- Freeze leftovers → try and empty out your freezer as it gets closer to the 25th
- Make stock
- Make leftovers into pies etc.
- Plan ahead
- Donate unopened food to a local food bank
- Compost peelings
And there we have it! I hope this blog post has given you some tips on how to have the most sustainable Christmas.
Best wishes, Cx
Fadima Mooneira says
Yeah!!!!!!! Celebrations can always be sustainable. These are good tips. Thank you for sharing.
I think the food waste advice is super important or we end up with so much leftover and thrown away.
There are so many great ideas and tips here! I’m in love with those plantable gift tags. I cut up old cards too, but would love to try the plantable ones!
Me too! x
Megan Charlie says
These are some great tips! I love the idea of making your own decorations. It would definitely make things that little bit more personal and it’d be a great tradition!
I agree x
Eleanor Jones says
Fantastic post! Thank you for sharing Caroline, it is so tough to be sustainable at this time of year. I give away any presents that I don’t need to charity shops and I try to throw away minimal bits- although it’s hard to be completely sustainable. Great tips 🙂
I feel you, that sounds good x
Jodie | That Happy Reader says
I love all these great ideas to have a more sustainable holiday! I think making your own decorations is wonderful as well as recyclable gift tags. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you x
Seriah Sargenton says
I have never thought about recycling gift tags. That is such a great idea!
I love the smell of a real Christmas tree, but I always felt bad getting it for the house since it’s been cut down. The felt decoration sets look so cute as well, need the robin ones!
I know what you mean x
I love these suggestions and ideas to have a sustainable Christmas, I don’t think anyone can have any excuses to not do one of these things! x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
I agree 🙂 x
What an excellent roundup of ideas, Caroline! And thanks so much for linking to my Christmas tree post.
I definitely need to look into the Christmas crackers. I have several packages of paper Christmas napkins to use up. Once they’re gone, I’ll definitely get some cloth napkins.
No problem, I really enjoyed reading it! That sounds good 🙂
Merry Sari says
I don’t celebrate Christmas but I love the Christmas vibe sooo much! I like taking photos of Christmas trees wherever I go haha Love these recommendations 😀
These are great ideas to have a sustainable christmas, making your own decoration is a great idea, I remember one of my aunts she made all her christmas decoration self. In september she began craf everything, was really fun.
Thank you, aww that sounds so lovely x
I love this post Caroline! Christmas can be such a wasteful time of year.
I completely understand the Christmas tree dilemma. I debate the same thing every year too. I’ve had the same fake tree for so long and I think if I ever decided to go for a real tree I would want to ensure that my one was either recycled in some way or passed onto someone else to use. I’d also need to know that if a real tree was cut down, that two were planted in its place.
Those plantable gift cards look amazing! I’ve never seen these before but they’re such a cute idea!
Kelly Diane says
These are great tips. Those baubles look adorable. I’ve never had a real Christmas tree before. I always donate my fake tree to someone less fortunate when I want to update it.
That’s a really nice idea x
These are great tips! I use brown paper to wrap presents I think it actually looks pretty! Love all of these ideas. Thank you for sharing x
I agree, brown paper looks so good x
Jenny in Neverland says
Some great ideas and things to consider if you want to make your Christmas more eco-friendly! Making cards or sending e-cards is a great idea. The Christmas tree debate is an interesting one – I think there’s definitely pros and cons of each!
Thank you x
Shannon Baker says
These tips are so awesome! I am trying my best to have a more sustainable Christmas especially with the wrapping, using my paper based washi tape and reuse old paper that we have left instead of buying new tubes. I have recycled cards and reusing gift bags as well. Can’t wait to do more research for next year 🙂
Love Shannon x
Thank you, definitely best to use what you have first! x
We use the same decorations every year. I do buy a few new things each year but we use them all and I’ll continue to do so until they break! We have a fake tree but hope to have it for many years. I’d love a real tree but it’s not safe with the baby. Maybe in a few years we will have one!
I will give our old tree away on our community page if we do make the swap.
That sounds great 🙂
These are great tips! I love the little baubles, they are so cute. I think Christmas is a great time to make some eco-friendly swaps as otherwise it can be so wasteful. I hadn’t thought about some of these ideas. We like to use old Christmas cards to make Christmas tags as then it reduces our waste. Em x
I agree x
I agree with the reusing decorations. I have known so many people who throw out each year and buy new each year. I understand if you have to but if you don’t have to just re use them.
Sophie Harriet says
I love these ideas for having a more sustainable Christmas! This year I made Christmas cards by cutting up last years ones and sticking the pictures onto plain card that I already had. I hadn’t thought of making gift tags from old cards too but that’s such a good idea. I also got a felting kit from Cats Protection and I’m going to have a go at felting a bauble, modelled on my cat! They ran an online workshop which I wasn’t able to attend at the time but it’s on catch-up. x
That’s such a fun idea for making Christmas cards! Oh, I love Cats Protection – just ordered a couple of gifts from there for my family 🙂
Cristina Rosano says
These are all amazing tips and love to see so many things we can do so easily! I love the idea of reusable wrapping and it can serve both ways, like with furoshiki, you can keep teh wrapping and reuse it. ALso reusable christmas crackers are such a great idea, thanks for sharing x