1. Buy a reusable advent calendar
Invest in a reusable advent calendar that you can refill year after year. There are loads of different varieties to buy, from wooden to fabric, even a mini stocking for each day.
You can fill them with whatever you like, whether that be chocolate like the traditional calendars or something more exciting like gin. You will be saving plastic and cardboard each year.
2. Use sustainable decorations
Most people already re-use their decorations year on year with a few new additions and maybe a few replacements when things get broken. Family heirlooms are instantly sustainable because we use them every year.
If you do find yourselves needing to buy new decorations why not look for recyclable materials such as brass, wood, cardboard or glass. That way if anything is damaged or broken, by your crazy cat or otherwise, the materials can be handed over to your local council for recycling.
Or, make your own - dried orange slice decorations are easy to make and look great hung on the Christmas tree.
3. Use LED lights
Using LED lights around the house is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. They’re much more environmentally friendly than their incandescent counterparts and do just as good a job of giving your home that Christmassy feel.
4. Use sustainable wrapping paper
Sustainable wrapping paper is another great way of reducing your carbon footprint during the Christmas period. Most wrapping paper rolls you find in the supermarket are non-recyclable because they contain materials such as foil, plastic or glitter.
The best alternatives are to source yourself some good, old fashioned brown wrapping paper, re-use last years or get creative and use products around the home, such as a scarf!
5. Reduce food waste
Seriously, who wastes food? Amazingly, some people do. I know, crazy right?
Planning ahead is a great start to limiting the amount of food that will end up wasted. Write down a plan and make a shopping list before heading out to the shops.
Secondly, make sure you’re adding food that has to be binned to the correct bin. Your composter or green bin will ensure that unwanted food isn’t wasted. Thirdly, have Christmas dinner every day until New Years – that’s our solution!
Finally, use food waste apps like OLIO where you can exchange unwanted food with your local users (FYI - you can get really cheap, high-quality food from restaurants and cafes too with Too Good To Go or Karma).
6. Use sustainable crackers
Traditional Christmas crackers are made from similar materials to our usual wrapping paper – foil, glitter, plastic mixed with cardboard.
However, reusable Christmas crackers can be made from materials such as linen and can be used year on year – you can even use your own gifts… or slide a tenner in one, it depends how generous you’re feeling!
7. Avoid sending Christmas cards, or send sustainable alternatives
A growing number of us avoid sending Christmas cards altogether nowadays, but those of us who do should be looking at our cards closely for the “Forest Stewardship Council” mark (FSC). This confirms your card has been produced ethically and sustainably.
You could also buy cards the receiver can plant! Yes, seed paper is now a thing and placing this seeded paper/card on top of your compost and watering it will produce flowers (or whatever the seed came from).
8. Shop small
Nothing says Christmas like everyone getting the same gifts. The latest football kit, the freshest Apple product, the newest Xbox game.
What if there were alternatives to Amazon? Nowadays, there are hundreds of excellent, high quality small businesses across social media – particularly Instagram – where much more personal items can be bought or made to order. You’re supporting small business owners whilst getting something really special for your loved one.
9. Get crafty
It doesn’t get more personal than making that special someone something with your own hands. Now, we wouldn’t advise you build your own smartwatch or tablet, that would be ridiculous, but you could make a DIY candy dispenser or bake a boxful of tasty gingerbread treats for grandma. This one is especially good if you have kids, as it can double up as a fun weekend activity!
We hope you find some of these neat tips and tricks useful. Remember, you don’t have to do all of these, every little helps. It’s just about what fits into your lifestyle.