Christmas is known by many as the most wonderful time of the year, but unfortunately it’s not a great time for the planet. The overwhelming consumption of materialistic gifts, carbon emissions produced to visit loved ones, food waste, and general rubbish, means the planet pays a price for all our Christmas cheer.

This Christmas, enjoy the holiday while caring for the planet too. All I want for Christmas is (for) you… to be conscious of your environmental impact, and make an effort to reduce it.

1. Green your gifts

When it comes to gifts, it’s important to think outside the box. Don’t make a trip to the local mall this year. Put your thinking hat on, and gift a present that makes them go “ah! I love it!”

  • Gift experiences (bungee jumping, lunch date, massage voucher)
  • Homemade food and drink
  • Locally made and sustainably sourced gifts

2. Wrap creatively

Billions of Christmas cards are sent around the world every single year, and wrapping paper is often made from virgin materials and printed with dyes or patterns which deems it unrecyclable. Ditch it.

  • DIY wrapping paper with newspaper and brown string
  • Make your own Christmas cards from scrap pieces of paper or second hand materials from the second hand shop
  • Send e-cards
  • Reuse old wrapping paper that was gifted to you, and reuse the same paper next year!
  • Say no to cello tape. Instead, use ribbons strategically to fasten the wrapping paper around the gift

3. Get cosy in the kitchen

A plastic wrapped tray of meringues from the supermarket may be okay, but homemade will be sure to impress your friends and family so much more. Plastic is a material best avoided, and homemade goodies are so much better for your body than processed and packaged food too.

  • Buy ingredients from the bulk bin store to make your own food
  • Purchase from local vendors who let you bring your own containers to fill with food (avoid any single use packaging)
  • Create a menu with foods that will last well in the fridge or freezer if you don’t eat them all on the day (reduce food waste)
  • Ensure there are accessible compost and recycling bins to dispose of your waste responsibly

4. Deck the halls with bells of (reused) holly

Every year the theme is red and green, twinkling lights, and Santa Claus. So why not choose to reuse? Decorations are important for creating the Christmas ‘feel’, but they can be done without plastic and waste, while saving money.

  • Purchase sturdy, durable decorations that will last
  • Repair your decorations
  • Reuse what you have
  • Purchase decorations from second hand stores (or swap with friends and family)
  • DIY decorations

5. Bike, bus, or offset your transport

Christmas time is all about spending time with family, but family are usually far away. I’m not asking you to Skype over Christmas dinner, but there are ways you can travel with less guilt.

  • Offset your carbon emissions when you fly (I recommend Ekos and Cool Effect)
  • Bike or walk to Christmas events (if realistic)
  • Carpool with other family members to the hosting house
  • Use public transport (if available on Christmas day)