10 tips and tricks on how to have a sensational and sustainable festive period

As part of our 10th birthday anniversary, we’ve been looking back as well as forward, and this led us to the yearly excesses of the winter holiday season. We all aspire for a healthy, balanced and sustainable planet, and we can play a role this month through the choices and decisions we make for our celebrations. Here are our tips and tricks on how you can have a more sustainable Christmas.

1. Forest friendly greetings cards  

Did you know one billion Christmas cards end up in the bin each year? Send greetings cards in a more environmentally friendly way.  

Tip: In the UK, Not On The High Street’s illustrated cards are eco-friendly and whimsical.  

Trick: Recycle or compost greetings cards in January. 

2. Handmade decorations 

Rather than spending money on decorations you could end up throwing away, have a go at making your own. DIY decorating could even be a fun family affair! 

Tip: Decorative bottles are a simple way to jazz up your dining table. Take an empty glass bottle, find some pretty paper napkins – cut out patterns and place them on the bottle with glue diluted in water, add some lights inside for extra sparkle.  

Trick: Paper snowflakes are one of the easiest decorations to make. Grab some recycled paper and cut out circles, fold the paper in half as many times as you can and get creative with your cutting! Carefully open each paper to reveal spectacular snowflakes – get some blue-tack and decorate your windows for the ultimate festive look. 

3. Stocking fillers 

Short of ideas on what to put in stockings? Chocolate coins, socks, games, and gloves are popular items. 

Tip: Pick up a delectable stocking filler at FatMacy’s – a fantastic social enterprise giving young Londoner’s living in temporary accommodation training to help get them back on their feet. (the salted chocolate chip cookies are divine!)   

Trick: Surprise your loved one this year by adding a sustainable water bottle. 24 Bottles have a range of products in sleek designs.  

4. Sustainable gifts 

Be an eco-warrior by going eco-friendly on presents.  

Tip: Thinking of gifting a loved one a rucksack or bag this festive season? Eastpak and iconic British designer, Vivienne Westwood have teamed up to create bags which are crafted from recycled PET, made from some of the 8 million pieces of plastic that pollute our oceans every day. Check out the five-piece environmentally-conscious collection by visiting Eastpak  or Vivienne Westwood

Tip: If you’re sending corporate gifts to clients and/or suppliers this year, let’s be sure to make them socially conscious and environmentally friendly.  

5. Wrap it up! 

Choose wrapping paper which is free of glitter or foil as these materials cannot be recycled. 

Tip: ‘Upcycle’ old newspapers, tissue paper, magazines, or maps to wrap presents in and re-use gift bags and ribbon. 

Trick: Choose a fabulous fabric scarf to wrap your gift in (two presents in one!). Beautiful designs can be found in second-hand stores and charity shops. 

6. Green trees – in every sense of the word 

Did you know 15 billion trees are cut down by people annually? Consider alternative options to getting a real tree this festive period. 

Tip: Forest Stewardship Council certified trees have been responsibly managed and grown using a minimal amount of pesticides. You could also rent a tree instead – which can be more cost-effective than you may think! 

Trick: Rather than throwing your tree away after the festive period, you can recycle it. Yes, Christmas trees are recyclable! Once you have taken off all the decorations and lights, you can usually take trees to your local recycling centre where they can be shredded. 

7. Have a cracking Christmas 

Confession time! Have you ever used the miniature screwdriver you find in a traditional Christmas cracker? (Well, if you have, it’s probably only a handful of times.) If you’re looking for an eco-friendly way to embellish your dinner table this Christmas, you can reduce your use of plastic and replace single-use crackers with reusable ones!  

Tip: Crackers made from natural linen are readily available and many of them allow you to add your own personalised gifts. 

8. Sustainably sourced festive food 

Why not use the festive period, which let’s face it, is the biggest gastronomical feast of the year, to support some fabulous (and often family-run) ethical producers? Not only will you use fewer food miles and less packaging, but you will also feel a sense of pride knowing that you have not supported any intensive farming practices.  

Tip: Make a meal of your leftovers. If you do happen to buy too much to eat, you can plan meals using the leftovers. Had enough of eating turkey sandwiches? Abel & Cole and Riverford have a great tool that provides recipe suggestions for using up leftovers. 

Trick: This is a fun one for foodies – eat the food in your freezer in the run-up to the big day(s), which will leave ample room for leftovers. Surplus turkey, chicken, and ham can be sliced, wrapped, or placed in Tupperware and stored in the freezer. You can even freeze leftover Stilton cheese to use later in a winter soup. 

9. Wax Lyrical 

Candles are a big part of festive period and make a room feel cosy and warm, but it is worth noting their impact on pollution levels, as well as your health. You can still enjoy candles by choosing planet-friendly ones. 

Tip: Rather than paraffin based candles, choose eco-friendly soy or beeswax based candles, which you can find at The Botanical Candle Co  

10. Let there be light (but eco-friendly ones!) 

If every UK household swapped a string of incandescent lights for its LED equivalent, we could save more than £11 million and 29,000 tonnes of CO2, just over the 12 days of Christmas alone. 

LEDs are much more environmentally friendly than traditional incandescent lights as they use up to 80% less energy. 

Tip: Switch to solar-powered lights outdoors and put both sets on a timer. You will not only make environmental savings, but your energy bills will be reduced too.  

Implementing some or all the ideas above, will significantly reduce your impact on our precious planet this festive season.  

Please get in touch to discuss your plans and ideas for 2021, we’d love to hear about them and explore any ways that we may be able to support.