Our top tips for eco-friendly festivities
by Abbi James
Christmas is without a doubt the time for celebrating with those you love. For many it’s also a time of excess – from electricity usage to a flood of plastic packaging. We’re not here to be Ebenezer Scrooge, Bah Humbug-ing our way into your festivities, but we do have a few tips to enjoy Christmas in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way!
Each December, our homes are adorned with an abundance of Christmas decorations. The most eco-friendly decorations are those you already have, passed down through generations or kept from years past. But it’s only natural to want a refresh every now and then, to add a new twist each year!
If you’re looking to buy decorations, choose ones made from recycled or sustainable materials. Local craft fairs are a great way to find unique pieces, or failing that, Etsy has an abundance of eco-friendly options. When choosing a brand to buy from, take a look at their views towards sustainability. nkuku is built on ethical, eco-friendly and handmade values, and offers a range of beautiful decorations for both the home and tree. Felted decorations are also a great option to bring some festive cheer, as they’re fully re-usable year after year. We’re big fans of FatFace’s Woodland Tree Decorations, made from felt by a brand set on strong sustainability goals. We’re such big fans in fact, we’ve added them as a £25 prize in the DAYMADE Weekly Draws!
If you’re feeling creative, you can upcycle existing decorations or create your own. Fill your home with festive scents with a homemade dried citrus and cinnamon garland, or a popcorn and dried cranberry garland to substitute for tinsel! DIY your own origami upcycled paper stars to hang on the Christmas tree, in your windows or as table place settings. And for those who have a garden or local park, you can create your own Christmas wreath from a misshapen metal coat hanger with fallen foliage, sprigs of rosemary and dried berries. However you decide to get creative, we recommend using plant-based, biodegradable glitter to add some sustainable sparkle to your crafts. Sparkle Town, Eco Glitter Fun and A Beautiful Weirdo all have stunning biodegradable glitter perfect for lighting up the festive season.
One tradition that still goes strong is sending Christmas cards. Whilst the majority are made mostly from cardboard, many will still contain plastic-based glitter and cause environmental impact through the manufacturing process. We’re opting instead for making our own Christmas cards, whether they be upcycled from years past or created from scratch to let your creative juices flow. Last year’s cards can also be kept to repurpose for present tags or to be used towards making paper garlands to adorn your home with. If you’re in a pinch and need to buy a last-minute card, look out for biodegradable cards embedded with seeds from the likes of The Seed Card Company or EcoVibe, for the ultimate Christmas card that keeps on giving. We’re so fond of The Seed Card Company that we’ve added their 100% biodegradable seed-embedded cards to our £5 prize category, so you can try them out for yourself!
Wrapping your specially-chosen gifts in an environmentally friendly way is much easier than you’d think. If you’re opting to buy your wrapping paper, go for one that’s preferably made from recycled materials and/or is even recyclable itself. Recycle Now have highlighted the ‘scrunch test’, whereby if paper is scrunched into a ball and holds its shape, it is most likely recyclable. Our favourite eco-friendly and sustainable wrapping papers are from EcoVibe and Curlicue, with beautiful designs to set your gift apart.
If you’re looking to add a unique touch, opt for plantable seed wrapping paper, recyclable decorated boxes or brown kraft paper adorned with repurposed Christmas gift tags and handmade decorations. For presents that are a little fiddly to wrap, reusable and recycled fabric wrap is the perfect waste-free wrapping alternative. We’re big fans of Lush’s 100% organic cotton and 100% recycled plastic knot wraps, which can be used year after year for added brownie points.
The Christmas tree has been a centrepiece of festive celebrations for centuries, with Germany being credited as starting this international tradition of bringing decorated trees into the home. The decision as to whether to have a real Christmas tree or a fake fir is down to personal preference, with many having strong opinions based on their family’s traditions through the years. If you already have a Christmas tree tucked away in the attic, the most sustainable option is of course to re-use it each year. If it’s starting to look a little tired, it can be spruced up with the addition of fallen foliage, homemade garlands and handmade decorations.
For those looking to buy a real tree, ensure it is responsibly sourced and look out for the FSC-certified label. One of your most sustainable options is to purchase a potted tree that you can re-use each year and look after between seasons. If you don’t have the outdoor space to look after your festive friend year-round, various companies have started renting Christmas trees for you to ‘adopt’ during the festive period before returning it to be replanted for next year. If you do find yourself going down the cut-tree route, we suggest buying from a brand focusing on sustainability. For those in Scotland and Edinburgh, we’d suggest buying your Christmas tree from Bethany Christian Trust’s Caring Christmas Trees. They’re sustainably grown locally in Scotland, with 100% of the proceeds going to support people facing homelessness and in vulnerable situations. If you’re located across the UK, however, we’re big fans of The Christmas Forest’s Nordmann Firs, which are grown with sustainability in mind and supporting their TREE AID collaboration. If you do find yourself with a cut tree, make sure you know how to dispose of it come January – will you recycle it to create a habitat for bugs and birds in your garden, or use the wood chippings for a local park or woodland?
However you decide to celebrate this Christmas period, know that even small steps can make a difference. Choose your Christmas tree wisely and adorn it with handmade decorations and garlands made with family and friends. Wrap your eco-friendly gifts in recycled, repurposed and reusable materials for an added sentimental touch. Enjoy the start of a new tradition towards a more sustainable Christmas!
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