Your Guide to a Greener Christmas
Do you aspire to have a more eco-friendly holiday this year? Then check out these top tips from various experts
Decorate with LED lights
“My one top tip is to embrace LED lights for your festive decorations,” shares Oliver Creevy, managing director and co-founder of Insulation Advisor.
“These lights are energy-efficient, lasting up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs, and they use significantly less electricity. As we like to say, ‘Let your lights shine bright, but not on your energy bill.’”
Choose real Christmas trees
“While many people believe reusing an artificial tree is a more sustainable option to putting up a real tree in your home for only a few weeks every year, real trees can be sustainable if sourced and cared for correctly – and you just can’t beat the smell of pine for the ultimate sense of Christmas,” says Scandi lifestyle expert at Contura, Catharina Björkman.
“Pot-grown trees are the most sustainable option, though you’ll need to regularly water it and spritz the foliage. Post-Christmas, you can simply move it outside.
Companies all over the country allow you to hire a tree before collecting them in January either to recycle or re-plant, growing and reusing again the following year.”
For local tree recycling schemes, try the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity.
Use Sustainable Wrapping Paper
With the majority of wrapping paper non-recyclable, working with sustainable paper is an easy way to become more eco-friendly in our current climate, comments Hema Stewart, founder of Curlicue.
“But these choices don’t have to start and stop by purchasing sustainable wrapping paper; you can also create paper chains or other decorations by using the offcuts of your paper with the help of some eco tape or clever folds.
This tip is not only eco-friendly, but an easy way to keep the kids busy while you’re secretly wrapping gifts during the holidays!”
Show your leftovers some love
Volunteer project leader at Foodcycle Newcastle, JP, shares some advice for cutting food waste.
“Any leftover cooked potato will make great potato cakes for breakfast on Boxing Day or over the Christmas period. Mix mashed potato with chopped onion, leftover veggies and herbs, then cover with matzo or cornmeal to make patties, which can be baked or fried.
Leftover wine can be put into ice cube trays and frozen for future risottos, stews or red wine gravy. Finally, stale mince pies make an amazing mince pie ice cream with custard and cream.
Buy eco-friendly crackers
Something as small as a Christmas cracker can majorly contribute to waste – not just in terms of non-recyclable packaging, but also the frequently discarded, plastic-made toys inside.
Businesses such as Nancy & Betty specialise in beautiful, eco-friendly crackers that overcome this issue. “We’re proud to make crackers that are handcrafted in England from thick, sustainable paper stock and printed with vegetable-based ink,” says creative director, Hannah Bidmead.
“One tree is planted for every box bought and each is filled with a selection of covetable, plastic-free gifts.
We want to make sure people still enjoy the festive tradition of crackers, while knowing they’re buying sustainably.”
Say goodbye to secret Santa
Though loved (or dreaded?) by offices and households across the country, it may be time to wave farewell to secret Santa.
As Andy Webb, founder of UK Money Bloggers, argues: “Secret Santa can be a fun Christmas tradition, but in reality, most gifts are unwanted and unused.
This not only wastes the gifter’s money – more vital than ever in the ongoing cost-of-living crisis – but also means more landfill.
Why not introduce a ‘give or gift’ system, where the recipient can decide whether they want a gift or if they’d appreciate a charity donation in their name?
Telling someone their money has gone to a worthy cause instead is the much more socially and environmentally conscious option.”
Try toy rental for children’s presents
“Christmas can be tough for parents, and we love knowing that we can help them gift their little ones top-of-the-range toys at budget-friendly prices, while reducing unnecessary packaging and plastic waste,” says Sanam Saghir, co-owner of toy swap subscription service Whirli.
“Our sustainable approach gives parents the opportunity to trial different toys for their children without cluttering their playroom or breaking the bank. The best thing is, children can keep their favourites for as long as they want!”
Peruse the latest toys from leading brands minus the high-end prices – and landfill disposal once your child gets bored!