Christmas is a magical time for many, the season of goodwill. But often in the midst of the merry madness, we can forget to spread this goodwill to our home – planet Earth.
So, we hope to show you that Christmas can be just as special done consciously, carefully and minimally. Below, we’ve put together a simple list of swaps to have more eco-friendly festivities this year and many to come. Will you check it twice?
1 – The real deal
It’s the great Christmas tree debate – real or fake? The answer depends on whether you have one already, and how long you’ve had it. Multiple studies show that an artificial tree should be used for a minimum of 10 years, in order for its environmental impact to equal that of a responsibly-disposed natural tree.
The Carbon Trust explains that choosing a real Christmas tree has a significantly lower carbon footprint than a faux fir, especially if its roots are intact and it can be replanted. If this isn’t an option, consider recycling your tree into chippings for local parks and woodland areas, with a little help from Recycle Now collection points.
Ultimately, it’s best to find a fir over a fake. But if an artificial tree is a must, consider buying second-hand and giving it away when you’re finished with it.
2 – Loyalty cards
Do you receive piles of greetings cards each December? Then we encourage you to channel your inner Kirsty Allsop and get crafty. Instead of buying gift tags, save and repurpose last year’s cards by cutting out their designs. This will allow you to create unique gift tags for each of your presents, that don’t cost the earth.
If you can’t resist the tradition of sending Christmas cards, look for those with the Sustainably mark, which guarantees the paper is sustainably and ethically produced. Or better still, try recyclable, compostable or plantable seed paper cards that grow into wildflowers and herbs.
And for something extra one-of-a-kind, take a look at our greetings cards made from reindeer dung. Don’t worry… they don’t smell bad, but they do have the planet in mind and support the fight against animal suffering.
3 – Mistletoe and twine
It’s a time of giving, but the simply astronomical truth is that the amount of paper waste created over the festive period is enough to reach the moon. While shiny and sparkly gift wrap may look stunning under the tree, it’s an unfortunate no for the recycling bin.
Avoid sending unnecessary waste to landfill by opting for eco gift wrap, made from environmentally-friendly, recyclable and biodegradable materials, such as recycled brown paper, reusable cotton wrap, bags and boxes.
These can look just as lovely, particularly when they’re finished off with twine, ribbon or foraged materials such as holly, pine and laurel. So why not give your gifts a rustic and charming feel, while protecting the planet in the process?
4 – A sustainable centrepiece
Sustainably-sourced decorations in your home are a win-win. Many mainstream decorations are produced with plastic, but we recommend decking your halls with trimmings of recycled wood, glass and fabric which look beautiful and are much kinder to the earth.
You may also consider plastic-free alternatives on your table, such as eco-friendly Christmas crackers that can be used for years to come. These feature a range of festive designs and can be filled with your own meaningful gifts, rather than throwaway tokens.
For a personal touch, homemade decorations using dried oranges, cinnamon sticks and pine cones make the perfect addition to a tree, fireplace or front door. Get inspired with our DIY wreath-making tutorial over on Instagram, using garden foliage.
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, toys in every store.. But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be on your own front door.”
5 – The gift that keeps giving
If you’re struggling for gift ideas and really aren’t sure what to buy, check out businesses and charities with sustainability at their heart. Do you know a friend who would love to protect a piece of UK woodland or save some vulnerable rainforest? This may be the perfect present for them.
But if you have a better idea of what someone would like, keep in mind that every time a shop bell rings, a business owner sings. Shopping small, local and independent sellers makes a big difference, not only ensuring extra time and effort has gone into making or sourcing a product, but also supporting real people and their craftsmanship.
For alternative, sustainable and plastic-free stocking fillers, be sure to visit our online store, where you can find a range of eco-friendly gift sets – from pampering to indulging.
Face unafraid the plans that you’ve made this Christmas, by making a couple of these easy eco-friendly swaps. Tell us the simple switches you make to guarantee a joyful AND triumphant season in the comments below.
By Hannah Stark