How to Have a Green Christmas

While it might be the most wonderful time of the year, it’s also the most wasteful. But being kind to the environment doesn’t mean having any less fun! Christmas Trees and Lights in the UK has some great ideas on how to turn a white Christmas into a green Christmas…

Buy Smarter

Look for locally made gifts at craft fairs and boutique shops. Less transport movements mean less carbon emissions and you’ll be supporting the local economy too. In a similar way, buying organic local produce from farmers’ markets will cut down on the food miles and CO2 emissions. Buying from farmers’ markets also means fresher food that’s pretty much straight from the field onto your plate!

Where possible, try to avoid gifts that use batteries. When you throw batteries away they become an environmental hazard. Look for toys that don’t need batteries or give books to children instead.

Have a look for antiques and collectables to give as gifts – there’s less impact on the environment because they’re not new, and you can find some really interesting and original presents.

Just Buy Less!

Some Christmas presents fill a practical need, and need to be bought new. But if you’re buying for someone who already has everything they need, why not give a gift of thoughtfulness? For example, you could give a ‘service’ like offering to walk a friend’s dog for a year, or 10 free babysitting sessions. Or you could make homemade ‘edibles’ – a favourite cake or luxury biscuits for a special treat.

There’s a lot of discussion about the etiquette of re-giving an unwanted gift. If you receive something that you really don’t need, or even two of something, then save your gift in its original packaging until next year and give it to someone you know will appreciate it. Done tactfully and with care, re?gifting is a great way to help protect the environment at Christmas.

Lower the Impact of Christmas Lighting

Excessive use of electricity drains the environment’s natural resources. Consider using LED lights for house and Christmas tree lighting. LED lights can use up to 95% less energy than normal bulbs. What’s more, they last up to 100,000 hours indoors. So you’ll be doing your bit for the environment and saving money! Oh, and don’t forget to turn lights off when you go to bed.

Alternatives to Traditional Wrapping Paper

Instead of picking up a few roles at the checkout, shop around a little for environmentally friendly wrapping paper that’s made using fibres such as hemp. Also look at the recycled content of the paper you’re buying to get the best deal for the environment, helping you to make Christmas that little bit greener.

Don’t be drawn to glossy foil or metallic wrapping paper; it’s much harder to recycle than normal paper.  And if you can hold back from ripping your paper off your presents on Christmas morning, unwrap carefully and save the un?creased sections of paper for next year. If you’re someone who has to tear your paper off in a frenzy, then make sure you pop it in the recycling bin and not the regular waste bin.

As you can see, your Christmas holidays don’t need to suffer at the expense of being green. There are numerous ways you can reduce your impact and still enjoy the season.

So, what kinds of things have you done to make your Christmas more eco-friendly? I would love to hear.


How to Have a Green Christmas — 26 Comments

  1. I try to give practical gifts, that people will use. For example last year I made an agenda for BF (which he uses daily and would have bought anyway), and inserted pictures of our travels to make it personal. He really liked it. I like edible gifts for adults who have everything and for whom it is hard to buy a gift, homemade jams for everyone is a no-brainer.

  2. I try and get as many “real” decorations as possible. A real tree, real garlands, and and real wreath means that they aren’t made out of plastic or other petroleum based materials. My financial support to the Christmas tree farms also ensures that the acres and acres of CO2 sucking trees stay put.

  3. Great tips. We do our best to buy less. Our kids get so much from their grandparents that we learned early on we were just throwing our money away by buying more stuff. So, we’ll buy them a present or two and save the rest of the money we’ve budgeted for them. That way we can use their leftover money throughout the year on fun things they want to do.

  4. Our whole family is talking about buying less this year. We all alrady have everything we need, so what are we buying so much extra junk for? How much of it do we even remember a year from now? Almost none. The whole family isn’t on board yet though, so… we’ll see how it goes 🙂

  5. We are big into gift bags – and we reuse the tissue paper as well! I try to do charitable donations for some gifts, and now that my nieces are older, I give them gift cards for clothing stores – so they can get something they’d need anyways!

  6. This year is all about cash and less is more!

    To be green, I got rid of the artifical tree (I KNOW!) I should have kept it and used it, but I just decided to go real green. Or better yet, I should never have purchased such a horrible thing!

    I am making our presents this year an collaging using tidbits, trinkets and baubles from garage sales as well as thrift stores.
    It’s a great way to use up things and have fun making art! I use the term “art” lightly. 😉

  7. Our parents are notoriously hard to buy for. Last year we made donations to their favorite charity in their name. They loved it!

    For wrapping paper, I picked up some folded maps at an estate sale this year and have been using them to wrap gifts. I love maps, so it makes me happy, but it’s really green too.

  8. Great tips! We have both received and given gifts in our/others names before. If it’s an organization that does something meaningful to the individual, it can be such a moving gift. We’re also doing toys that are barely used/new-to-us this year. Will save on our budget and all the plastic that goes into making them.

  9. I like your… “just buy less stuff :-)” recommendation. It’s essentially says… well duh!!!! Lately, we’ve been contemplating what things we want to own versus have access too. This also seems to be eco friendly.

  10. Great tips! We try to make some of our gifts from things we already have. Leftover yarn makes great baby hats. Leftover fabric can be turned into attractive washable grocery bags or reusable gift bags. I save this & that during the year to use a gift wrap and rarely have to buy any. We cut trimmings from our evergreen shrubs and trees in early December to use in decorating. We get pine cones from our trees for plenty of decor too. Baskets of pine cones with springs of greenery are always classy. Very Williamsburg!

    Increasingly we skip ribbons on gifts, using either yarn, string, or nothing. A name tag will do. I make name tags from last year’s Christmas cards. I love the look of boxes wrapped in brown craft paper and tied with red crochet string. You can even tie on a small pine cone with the red string for a pretty look. A bowl of fruit always looks wonderful and has no waste!

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