How to Have a More Sustainable Christmas


Christmas is great, getting together with friends and family is lovely, the environmental impact of the excess is sadly another matter.

Supporting local businesses and the local economy means that your hard earned money has more chance to be spent locally, not lining the pockets of remote shareholders. Locally made products lessen the impact of transporting things around the globe, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. Give yourself plenty of time to choose presents so you’re not panicking and just buying anything. Don’t buy for the sake of it, can you negotiate with people not to buy one another presents and save money and time? Electrical items such as phones and laptops have a high environmental and human health impact, could you consider buying second hand or reconditioned, could you buy ethically e.g. Fairphone? Ask yourself if you’re buying too much, whilst it’s exciting for a small child to see a huge pile of presents do you have the space to store it all, will it ever get played with? Small and thoughtful says more about what you feel about a person than buying lots of superficial presents. In fact the most thoughtful presents are hand-made and don’t have to be complicated. You could even consider gifting your time, maybe a get together for a walk or afternoon tea.

One year I decided not to send any cards and give the money to charity, it saved me a whole load of work…. and trees. The consequence of this is that we receive very few cards now which suggests that people only send you a card because you send them one! Instead I email distant friends to catch up, phone distant family and wish them happy Christmas that way and have a chat at the same time, invite friends and neighbours round for a Christmas drink and use all that booze up that’s been sat in the cupboard for years. If you set a time limit you can avoid the one o’ clock in the morning turfing out of the inebriated.

Cardboard, paper and all sorts of other resources that frequently can’t be recycled. If crackers are a must in your household get ones that can be recycled i.e. no metallic paper. Or consider making your own and filling with sweets or chocolates. Ask yourself how badly you need a bad joke, a flimsy hat and a rubbish toy.

The shops are shut for one day, why do we buy food as though we’re going to be holed up at home for weeks on end? Christmas lunch is just a fancy Sunday roast there is no need to go mad. All those mince pies, chocolates and nuts – we don’t need them – we’re too stuffed, don’t buy them and you won’t be tempted to eat them, it’ll save you the obligatory January diet. You’ll be bought loads of chocolate as presents anyway.

Making Room For The New Stuff.
So after Christmas there is all this new stuff to find space for which means you need to get rid of some old stuff! Please don’t throw it into the landfill bin there are plenty of ways that these items can be reused e.g. charity shops, swap shops, Freegle. This is also a good way to get rid of unwanted presents, unless of course you can pass them on as a present from you, obviously remember not to give it to the person who gave it to you!

There is an expectation that Christmas has to be done in a particular way. Try doing things differently and not only save money but save time too. I actually enjoy Christmas more now because I am not relentlessly buying presents and food and writing cards.

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