9 Ideas for a Sustainable Christmas

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Have yourself a more sustainable Christmas this year.

So much waste is created during the festive season, (for fun stats read blog Tis the Season to Simple Swap). We've also given you our simple swap for the turkey with the most delicious nut roast you'll ever have in your life when we went Nuts for Christmas

Perhaps the nut roast didn't take your fancy, or maybe it wasn't enough, and you're clamouring for more sustainable Santa-friendly simple swaps? Either way, we've got you covered with nine ways you can have a more sustainable Christmas (including our beautiful wrapping paper of course!). 

Let's start with gifts. Why not give gifts this year that will last, and have one less item go to landfill?

Our wrapping paper is recyclable, plastic-free and vegan!

1. Give a Plant as a Gift

We love plants, and succulents lend themselves to our particular green-fingered talents. 

Succulents can live for years with the right care, and the benefits of having plants in a living space are numerous for productivity and mental health. With more of our life spent at home, a succulent gift is something that can be enjoyed all year round.

We adore Little Suckers Succulents for a super special succulent arrangement. You'll be supporting a small business by buying with Hayley and she can make bespoke arrangements tailored to your loved one's tastes to make the gift extra special. 

If you want to buy online, check out Prick, London's first boutique dedicated to cacti and succulents. 


2. Handwoven Baskets

Tabara N'Diaye has created these incredible, handwoven baskets inspired by her Senegalese heritage. 

These Handwoven Mini Baskets are just too gorgeous for words and come in four colour options. These are perfect for housing your newly purchased succulents. 

Photo Credit: LaBasketry

Photo Credit: LaBasketry

LaBasketry also offers fantastic DIY kits for the more crafty of your gift recipients. These Rope Basket Bag Kits contain everything needed to make a stylish bag that can be reused over and over. 

Photo Credit: LaBasketry

Photo Credit: LaBasketry

3. Grow Your Own

Seed paper is nothing new, we've mentioned it before as a great alternative to wedding favours.

But did you know that you can get seed paper Christmas cards? 

Last year, Christmas Cards cost the planet 33 million trees - and that's just for our UK consumption of season's greeting. Many cards are non-recyclable after treatments with throw away coatings such as non-biodegradable glitter. 

These 'Sow This is Christmas' Cards from Ruby&Bo on Not On the High Street are great fun and are 100% biodegradable. After your card has been enjoyed, it can be planted and the paper is embedded with 24 varieties of British wildflowers such as cornflowers, daisies, poppies and scabiosa, that the bees and wildlife will love.

These cards can be planted all year round and come with growing instructions (which is recyclable). If you want to be super environmentally friendly this year, you can also send e-cards.

Photo Credit: Not on the High Street

Photo Credit: Not on the High Street

Where you shop is as important as what you're buying. 

4. Buy Locally

It's a little harder in 2020 to buy locally - we're not sure if we'll be locked down and what that means for our local high street. But, many local non-essential retailers have learnt from the last lockdown and have adapted their business to operate online. 

Check your local Facebook groups for small business offers and opening conditions as well as options for purchasing or click-and-collect operations from your local traders. 

If you can't buy locally, try and find a small business which has a smaller carbon footprint than a larger organisation. Etsy and Not on the High Street are great places to start. 

There's a lot to be said to the presentation of your festivities too. 

5. Wrapping Paper

You didn't think we'd leave ourselves out, would you? 

Born out of the stress of Christmas waste, Curlicue offers the joy of giving gifts without harming the earth. 

All of our festive prints are created by UK designers and made end-to-end in England to keep carbon emissions low and business local. 

Curlicue's wrapping papers are entirely recyclable and made from recycled materials. Our wrapping paper is plastic-free in any of our gift wraps, and we even use vegetable ink to create a vegan-friendly Christmas wrapping paper. 

Aside from our outstanding environmental credentials, our designs are beautiful. We love each one! You can learn more about our Christmas prints here and visit our shop. 

If you want a 100% suitable gift wrap, use our biodegradable tape which is computable at home. 


6. Reusable Christmas Crackers

Christmas Crackers are part of the tradition of Christmas lunch, but between the throwaway hats, plastic-coated casings and the plastic sheened terrible jokes; crackers aren't environmentally friendly. Not to mention the (very single-use) plastic yoyos, keyrings and other random free gifts that are never used.

That's why we love Keep This Cracker, the brainchild of clever cracker, Bea Thackeray. We particularly love these Ginger Cookie designed crackers for a stylish touch for your Christmas table. Not only can you fill these crackers with gifts or treats that your friends and family will love, but they are flat-packed and sent with compostable, plastic-free packaging.

These reusable Christmas crackers come in packs of 6 with 12 'snaps', so you've got enough for Boxing Day or the next year.

Photo Credit: Keep This Cracker

Photo Credit: Keep This Cracker

7. Reuse Christmas Decorations.

We've all got a box of Christmas decorations tucked away that gets a little dusty from January until November, and while the catalogues and the Christmas adverts full of beautiful Christmas trees that may make you want to go on a bauble shopping spree; don't. Get out the duster and reuse those lovely baubles from years before - reusing decorations is a great way to be more sustainable this festive season.

Get yourself into a make do and mend mentality - buy a reel of ribbon and repair those hanging baubles or give your wooden reindeers a make-over with paint.

When January comes, pack away your decorations from your Christmas tree with care, so they're ready for the next year. There's something magical in dressing Christmas trees with memories anyway.

8. A less meaty Christmas

You've had our favourite nut roast recipe, but we've got a few other tricks up our vegetarian sleeves. We're not saying that you have to remove meat from your festive feast altogether (although congratulations if you do!) but reducing your meat consumption this Christmas season is a great way to enact a small change that will have a positive environmental impact.

We love these Squash, Stilton and Walnut Rolls as well as this delicious Apple and Celeriac Soup from Jamie Oliver. If you want an alternative for your main dish but don't enjoy a nut roast, how about this Mushroom, Chestnut and Squash Filo Pie?

If you swap just one meat dish for a veggie one, you'll be one step closer to an eco-friendly Christmas.

Photo Credit: BBC Good Food

Photo Credit: BBC Good Food

9. Less food waste

So much food is thrown away at the end of Christmas Day. The leftover stuffing that no one could fit or the box of mixed nuts that are bought every year but never eaten. It's hard to make sure we only buy and cook what we need when we're programmed to think Christmas is all about excessive consumption.

One of the small changes you can make (and might even help you enjoy Christmas Day a little more) is to look for ready-made food. COOK has transformed the frozen meal; creating beautiful fresh dishes that you can cook at home. COOK offer home delivery and collection, and their Christmas range is next level.

By buying ready-made, you can ensure there's no waste leftover from your recipes - and with COOK food, there won't be a scrap left on plates!

Photo Credit: COOK

Photo Credit: COOK

Just do what's right for you.

As much as we'd all love to have the most eco-friendly Christmas possible, with the twinkling lights and online adverts, there can be enormous pressure to make Christmas perfect. The best thing you can do is what is right for you and those you love. If you can make a more sustainable simple swap, great, but don't be hard on yourself if you can't.

Most of all, have yourself a very merry Christmas time!