Eco-friendly holidays sound crazy? It’s actually not that hard! Here are 10 tips for a sustainable Christmas that make the holidays even better!
WHY a sustainable Christmas?
- Christmas is the most wasteful day in a year, even more so than ‘normal’ days
- It’s actually not that hard to cut down on unnecessary gifts and wasteful decorations
- It’s good for the planet and can encourage your family to do better as well!
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1. Experiences Instead of Physical Gifts
Gifts don’t have to be physical, especially if they are not wanted!
I always prefer to get things I NEED or really want instead of random stuff I get just because it’s Christmas and people feel like they NEED to give me something. Does that make sense?
There are tons of different things you can give someone who “doesn’t need anything”, like coupons, experiences, tickets to things, or DIY gifts that will be used up such as food or soaps.
Related: 25 Eco Friendly Gift Ideas
2. Buy Package free gifts
If people do want things such as cosmetics, shower products, beauty products, etc., you can get them that package free!
For example, there are great shampoo and soap bars that make great gifts and are sustainable. Same with beauty products, there are cute safety razors out there or zero waste mascaras!
Click here for a great and budget-friendly shampoo bar!
I ordered this one for my sister for Christmas and it’s super cute! I have one myself and love it so much. It’s cheap to maintain and not too expensive to buy either.
Zero Waste Mascara
Zero waste mascara is something I always wanted and I hope I get some this Christmas!
I found this on Etsy and it looks really good and like a good gift also!
3. Sustainable Wrapping Paper
I don’t know if you know this, but many wrapping papers actually can’t get recycled because they are plastic lined or have glitter on them!
Recycling is the least we can do for the environment, so if you can do more that’s great!
Here are some options:
- Wrap in newspaper (and use paper tape!)
- Reuse old wrapping paper (We always flatten our used wrapping papers after xmas and store them in a box for next year)
- Gifts in boxes don’t need to be wrapped again – just write a name on it and good is!
- Use gift bags you have at home
- Use natural decorations to make your gifts look prettier. A few twigs or so make a difference and are easy to find and also to compost afterwards
Check out this cute eco-friendly wrapping paper from EarthHero!
4. Cook for the right number of guests
Depending how big your holiday dinner will be, make sure to cook the right amount.
Tons of food is being wasted in the holiday season due to overestimating the food needed for meals.
If you do have leftovers, use the days after Christmas to eat them or compost them properly so the leftovers don’t end up in the trash -> landfill.
TIP: Buy your groceries locally to support farmers and reduce your carbon footprint.
5. Need, Want, Wear, Read – Rule
If you’re a student, it’s enough if you only buy one gift for a person! However, if you have a family with kids, it’s hard not to get dozens of gifts to fill up the space under the tree and make the kids happy.
But remember: Christmas is not about material gifts! I saw tips about this rule on Pinterest and love it for when I have kids someday: Get them something they need, something they really want, something to wear, and something to read.
That way, they don’t get used to being super spoiled getting dozens of gifts on Christmas, but also have useful things and hopefully something they are really excited about!
6. Be mindful about what tree you get
If you have a say in what Christmas trees your family uses, read this section carefully!
If you’re wanting to know more about whether a fake tree is more sustainable than a real tree, there are lots of posts about that on Google, but basically both are ok if you get them from the right sources.
For a fake tree to be more eco-friendly, you should reuse it for many years! But if you get a real tree, it’s best to get it from a local tree farmer to support them and help grow more trees locally.
If you do get a real tree, make sure to get rid of it sustainably, meaning, you should compost it, use it as fire wood or recycle it with certain companies that take Christmas trees after the holidays.
You can also get a Christmas tree in a pot, that grows in it and that you can use for several years if you take care of it.
Lastly, you can get crafty for a more sustainable Christmas! There are lots of fun Christmas tree craft ideas on Pinterest such as branches shaped like a tree on the wall.
7. Sustainable Christmas Crackers
This might not apply to all of you but for the UK people out there: there are better ways to do this than the wasteful way!
I found some eco-friendly Christmas crackers on Etsy that can be personalized!
They look like this! Check them out:)
8. Adopt an Animal
This is a great Christmas gift idea that usually doesn’t cost too much money but is very meaningful and also reduces waste in terms of unwanted physical gifts.
Also, sometimes people want pets for Christmas which doesn’t always turn out to be a good idea and many people leave their pets in the outdoors once they don’t want them anymore shortly after Christmas.
To avoid that for the people you would give a pet to, why not give them an ‘adopted animal’? It’s meaningful while they don’t have to actually take care of the animals in person.
You can adopt animals from several non-profit organizations such as WWF or your local zoo! (The local option is great because they can actually visit the animal!)
Click here for the adopt an animal program from WWF. The link is for the US but if you are from a different country you can do a quick google search to find it for yours :)
Here is the link for the UK/Europe adoption program.
9. Use LED lights as decoration
LED lights use less energy, and thus are better for the environment (and your wallet;)
Also, switch off (and unplug) lights at night. You won’t see them anyway while you sleep and it also saves you money.
10. A tip for Christmas Parties
If you’re going to (or hosting) a Holiday party, try to wear something that’s already in your closet, or if you need something new go to the thrift store first!
Fast fashion is one of the main contributors to pollution and climate change, so by avoiding buying new items you reduce that!
Final thoughts about a sustainable Christmas
Remember that Christmas is all about the people you spend it with!
I hope you enjoy your holidays in a more sustainable way, stay local, buy the right amount of food, and give valuable gifts!