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Eco-friendly Christmas ideas: 8 tips for a more sustainable (and still fun) festive season

Photo credit: S&B Vonlanthen

Easy ways to make the festive season less wasteful

It’s time to deck the halls and make space in your belly for mince pies aplenty. But before we get into the festive cheer and share our sustainable Christmas tips, let’s bring things back to earth for a hot sec. 

Each year, we Brits create up to 30% more waste at Christmas, throwing away cards, food, unwanted gifts and everything in between. If that sounds like you, we’re not here to judge.

So that you can squeeze the most joy out of the festivities without causing stress on the environment, here are 8 ways to enjoy a more eco-friendly and sustainable Christmas this year. 

Reduce your food footprint

Christmas food is arguably one of the best parts of the season, and it’s easy to go overboard if you’re partial to a potato of the roasted variety or a never-ending box of chocs.

But as a nation, we typically throw away over 4 million Christmas dinners every year. That includes around 2 million turkeys

Go plant-based

Try not to roll your eyes, you knew it was coming. Switching to a plant-based spread, avoiding meat and dairy, has been proven to be “the single biggest way to reduce your environmental footprint on the planet”. Plus, you’d be joining the 20% of people surveyed by Deliveroo making the switch this year.

It can be proper tasty too, so you won’t get FOMO. Check out this Vegan ‘Beef’ Wellington from M&S if you don’t believe us.

Shop local

Whether you switch to plant options or not, shopping local is a powerful way to reduce your emissions. Opt for the greengrocer or butcher on your high street where you can, and choose produce that’s been grown in the UK to reduce the air miles. 

Better yet, look for companies like Oddbox that rescue wonky or surplus veg.

Only shop what you need

This one might seem obvious, but if we’re throwing away 740,000 portions of Christmas pudding each year, clearly we’re not great at it.

How many people are you feeding? Can you ask your guests not to bring extras? If you do have too much after the big day, make use of it by whipping up epic leftover meals. BBC Good Food has some stellar recipes

Sustainable Christmas gifting

Hopefully, you’ve done all your gift shopping now (No? Here’re the best last-minute gifts under £20), and all that’s left to do is wrap them up. 

Astonishingly, we throw out 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year. Miles! That’ll almost get you to the moon.

Choose recyclable wrapping paper

We love this Snowmen and Sleighs Wrapping Paper Set by Re-Wrapped, from &Keep. It uses vegan-friendly vegetable inks printed on unbleached paper, plus 5% of Re-Wrapped’s profits are donated to charity. 

Oh, while you’re at it, secure it with &Keep’s Biodegradable Washi Tape.

Try Furoshiki

This nifty Japanese way of wrapping presents will win you serious kudos, promise. Upcycle old scarves (or raid your local charity shop for vintage finds) to use instead of paper.

This simple tying method uses folds and knots to wrap your gifts and the final result is *chef’s kiss*. Here’s a great tutorial to get you started

Shop with Seesiu

If you’re still on the hunt for gifts, make sure to download our free Chrome extension to shop with Seesiu and offset the carbon emissions from your favourite brands. 

It’s totally free and you can even earn Seesiu Perks to spend later.

Low-waste decorations

It can be oh so tempting to deck your own halls with new, sparkly decs each year. But the most eco-friendly thing you can do is reuse what you already have. 

Even if your current decorations are made from plastic, it’s still better to use them again and again than to banish them to the landfill. The chances are no one saw your colour scheme last year anyway (cheers ‘Rona).

Get crafty

There are plenty of tutorials on the web to make your own homemade decorations, but if you want to be super sustainable, head to your garden and trim off some holly or eucalyptus.

For the table, we love these ‘Fill Your Own’ Recyclable Christmas Crackers from M&S, or for a DIY version, these DIY Christmas Cracker Kraft Boards from &Keep.

Choose a real tree over a fake

If you’ve already got a faux tree in the cupboard, absolutely keep on using it. But if you’re in the market for a newbie this year, research shows that choosing a real tree is much less damaging for the planet. 

Real trees, when FCS certified, are sustainably grown and planted continually, and as trees do, absorb CO2 and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. 

Just make sure to get rid of them properly after the fun is over. Most local councils offer to pick them up to reuse for local gardens, so do your research, folks.

Ready to get festive? We’d love to hear how you’re making your holiday greener this year, so come and tell us your plans on the ‘gram @ShopSeesiu.

And if you haven’t downloaded our free Chrome extension yet, what are you waiting for? Do it here you naughty elf.

Words: Vicki Chagger | @VickiChagger

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