Looking for planet-friendly ideas for presents, decorations and a happier, greener home this Christmas? We’re here to help, with eight easy ways to reduce waste, get crafty and have a more sustainable, eco-friendly festive season…
#1: Start with a pre-Christmas clear out
Whether you’re swamped with old toys or you’d just like a little less clutter, having a clear out before the festivities begin can make your home a calmer, more relaxing place to be. And if you take unwanted things to charity shops, you’ll be giving other people affordable, sustainable gift options, while raising money for really good causes. It’s a win-win-win.
#2: Forage for natural decorations on winter walks
Bring the outside in by gathering natural decorations from your garden and winter walks. Turn twigs into rustic centrepieces with a little wintery white paint, or try stringing pinecones onto ribbon or twine, leaving 5-10cm gaps between, to make bunting. Fresh greenery like holly looks great on mantelpieces – but snip responsibly from places where there’s plenty, and bin the berries if you’ve got little ones.
#3: Grow your own green-fingered gifts
There’s a reason house plants are so popular right now. They add texture and interest to rooms, they help clean the air in our homes, and looking after them makes a relaxing, mindful hobby, whatever the weather. So how about giving plants as some of your Christmas gifts this year? Even better, if you’re green-fingered you could take cuttings from your own plants, pop them in water to grow roots, and plant them up as presents.
#4: Pick recycled (and recyclable) cards and wrap
From rolls of pretty paper to piles of perfect cards, there are more and more recycled, recyclable options out there this year. Look for plastic-free, glitter-free choices or, if you’re feeling crafty, buy plain brown paper and cards and decorate them yourself. It makes a fun activity for little ones too.
#5: Make your own Christmas wreath
You can buy a whole range of hoops to make Christmas wreaths – starting at just a few pounds. Alternatively, twist a wire coat hanger (the kind you get from the dry cleaner) into a circle and use that as your base. Lay your hoop flat and experiment with what you’ll add, whether it’s fresh holly and pinecones or bright baubles and ribbon. Tie decorations on with floristry wire or rustic twine, and use a touch of glue if you need it. Add a hanging loop and you’re all done.
#6: Re-use your parcel packaging
With more and more of our Christmas shopping happening online, there’s usually a steady flow of parcels arriving in the run-up to the big day. So if you can, save any sturdy boxes, bubble wrap and tissue ready to post parcels to far-away friends and family. It’s an easy way to reduce your rubbish, re-use materials and save some money too.
#7: Give experiences instead of things
If you’re trying to get greener by reducing the amount of new things you buy, try giving (or asking for) experiences this Christmas. Vouchers for things like spa treatments or golf lessons give people an excuse to make a little me-time, while tickets for things you can do together might just be extra welcome after so much time apart during the pandemic.
#8: Turn last year’s cards into this year’s tags
One last super-simple way to be more sustainable this Christmas – making your own gift tags. All you need is a stack of old cards, a pair of scissors, a hole punch and some string. Just cut the best bits from the cards (making sure they’re big enough to write on) punch a hole and thread through your string. It’s quick, easy and the kids can help too. And if you haven’t saved last year’s cards, keep some this year, for free, planet-friendly tags in 2022.