Tips for a Sustainable & Affordable Christmas

For many, Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year, but it's also one of the most wasteful. Taking a more sustainable approach to the festivities can often be one of the most economical decisions as it will allow you to reuse items you already have, and invest in Christmassy items that will last you a lifetime.

Be Mindful of Your Tree

Once the festivities are over, it's estimated that the UK throws away around 8 million Christmas trees a year. Consider renting a living potted tree, which can be replanted in January and will help avoid them ending up in landfills. If you have the garden space, it might be an idea to buy one outright and allow it to grow and thrive throughout the year and be ready for the next season. It will also help provide food for wildlife like siskins, who love to eat seeds from spruce trees. Not to mention that investing in a single tree will be kinder on your wallet for years to come.

Recycle Wrapping Paper

Having a greener Christmas shouldn't have to stop with your family's tree, but also be mindful of the millions of trees used to make the cards and wrapping paper each year. Look for the FSC® or PEFC logos when you shop to know wood products come from well-managed forests and other controlled sources.

It's true that most wrapping paper can be recycled, but avoid anything shiny or glittery, as well as sticky tape which can't be reused or recycled. Opting from brown paper and a string will give your gift that authentic and traditional feel as well as being a more eco-conscious choice.

Tips for an affordable and sustainable christmas

Choose a Gift That Lasts

We all have that person who is difficult to buy for as they allegedly have 'everything', so getting them a gift that is truly unique is the best way to ensure your gift won't go to waste or be sat at the back of the cupboard for years to come. For the budding chef, check out Hydro Herb, which uses recycled wine bottles that are ground by hand to house a range of herbs that they can grow in their kitchen for up to 2 years. Or, if you're buying for a keen urban gardener, Piccolo has a wide selection of seeds (from Cocktail Herbs to Unusual Seeds) that are designed for pot growing or terrace garden spaces. They will be able to really use their present, and it will never break or run out.

Get Creative With Crackers

It never quite feels like Christmas without a festive cracker, but the standard packs you find in supermarkets are often filled with disposable plastic or covered in non-recyclable glitter. Making your own crackers is a sustainable way to use up bits you already have around the house, and it's the perfect way to add a personal touch to your Christmas tablescape. It's surprisingly easy, and a great way to keep the kids entertained with a festive activity in the lead-up to the big day.

If this seems a bit of a daunting task when it's already the busiest time of year, why not take a look on Etsy for some beautiful refillable options, that will allow you to use your crackers again and again? You'll have the option to fill them with sustainable surprises, or even sweets and biscuits – as well as saving you money in the long run as you won't need to repurchase a new pack for next year.

Avoid Food Waste

'Tis the season for buying too much food, but there's no need to double your shopping bill just because it's December. Before you head to the supermarket, create a list of your essentials, and consider the fact that food waste creates six times more greenhouse gases than aviation. Buying loose vegetables is a cheaper option that will allow you to buy for the specific number of people you'll be cooking for.

If you've found that succumbed to the temptations of the supermarket and you know you've bought too much to feed your family, remember that you don't need to cook and use it all at once. An entire turkey might be too much for one family, but if you can't imagine a Christmas without it, pop your leftovers in a reusable silicone freezer bag or Zip Top container and it will still be good to eat for up to 4 months later.

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