Below is a list of potential sustainability tips for a greener Christmas.
We’ve covered tips for Christmas cards, trees, presents/gifts and wrapping, decorations, lights, food, & more.
1. Consider More Sustainable Christmas Cards
Every year, millions of Christmas cards are used and sent (via post) all over many countries.
Many of these cards will be thrown out as waste, and there’s obviously the transport footprint to send/deliver them too.
Instead, some people may consider the option of sending ‘E-Christmas Cards’, which is a Christmas card/greeting that can be delivered electronically instead of physically
If people really want to send physical Christmas cards, biodegradable or recyclable cards and envelopes might be an option too – with a message to the recipient that the card and envelope is biodegradable or recyclable
2. Consider A Real Christmas Tree Over A Plastic One
This may depend on both practicality, and also how long the Christmas tree is used for.
Some plastic Christmas trees are used for many years – more years than a real tree as they don’t rot or degrade as quickly.
Plastic trees also don’t leave as much mess in some instances, and they can be much cheaper.
So, in some instances, plastic trees may be better.
But, some people might be able to source local real trees as Christmas trees, and then dispose of them as organic waste, or use the wood in some capacity when they are done with them
3. Consider A Gift Card Or A Cash Gift Instead Of A Physical Present For Some People
In some instances, people receive physical presents they don’t really want, and the present either ends up not being used, or being thrown out.
If you’re unsure of what to get someone, a gift card or a cash gift may eliminate this from happening.
4. Buy Gifts That Will Last Longer, Instead Of Single Use Or Short Lifespan Gifts
There’s several potential examples of this.
One example when buying fashion items as gifts, might be to buy items that cost slightly more, but are far better quality, and will therefore last longer than cheaper ‘fast fashion’ items
5. Consider Buying Gifts That Are Sustainable In Other Ways
This could take various forms, such as:
– Buying a gift that is made by a company who has some sort of sustainability guarantee e.g. the product is partially made from recycled materials
– Buying a ticket or voucher for an experience instead of buying a physical product e.g. buying a ticket for an event, or a voucher for an adventure or tourist experience
You may also consider more sustainable ways to wrap gifts instead of using single use wrapping paper.
6. Sell Or Donate Gifts That End Up Disused, Instead Of Throwing Them Out
A few examples of this might be:
– Selling a fashion item that doesn’t fit you. You can do this online, or donate to a secondhand store
– Donating children’s toys that end up disused to a secondhand store
7. Reduce Wrapping Paper For Presents, Or Use Recyclable Or Reusable Wrapping Materials
Includes things such as:
– Using reusable Christmas stockings for presents where possible
– Be mindful about not being excessive with the amount of wrapping paper used i.e. cut and use paper mindfully
– Using wrapping paper and also packaging materials that are recyclable or reusable, such as recyclable paper, or reusable string (instead of using sticky tape)
Some companies also sell products such as reusable Christmas themed gift bags for smaller gifts
8. Use Christmas Lights Sustainably, & Consider LED Lights
This might involve:
– Not being excessive with the number of Christmas lights used
– Setting Christmas lights to a timer (so they are only on for a certain amount of time per night)
– Using energy efficient lighting where possible, such as using LED lights that might use less energy/electricity
– Reuse Christmas lights as much as possible, and consider secondhand Christmas lights where possible
9. Consider More Sustainable Christmas Decorations
Three ways to do this might be:
– Reuse Christmas decorations for multiple years instead of immediately throwing them out
– Buy Christmas decorations secondhand from op-shops when good opportunities present themselves
– Make your own Christmas decorations using materials around the house where practical to do so, and where it’s more sustainable to do so
10. Eliminate Single Use Items At Christmas Get-Togethers
– Eliminating single use plates, cutlery, cups, and so on, and using reusable and washable ones instead
– Don’t be excessive with the use of single use Christmas crackers and other items
11. Reduce Food Waste From Christmas Day
A few ways to do this might be:
– Only prepare and bring food that you know will be eaten on Christmas day
– Bring slightly more food than you know will be eaten on the day, but, bring food storage containers, and store leftover food to be eaten later
12. Consider How You Can Make Christmas Related Transport More Sustainable
This is not always practical, but might involve:
– Car pooling when travelling local with family instead of all taking separate cars
– Considering taking a bus or train instead of a short haul flight when travelling short distances from home for Christmas (such as to another city or town)
1. Various ‘Better Meets Reality’ guides