Tips and tricks

8 tips for a more sustainable Christmas

8 tips for a more sustainable Christmas
This article covers:

From green gifting to a conscious Christmas lunch that won't cost the earth.

With Christmas only 33 days away, festivities are full steam ahead and while it’s easy to get caught up in some Yuletide overindulgence, having an eco-friendly Christmas - without losing the festive magic is easier than you might think. 


Handcrafted paper Christmas angel

Do-it-yourself decorations can be one of the most sustainable options - and one of the most fun. From simple snowmen made out of cardboard to intricate garlands, the internet is full of tutorials, whatever your level of skill.

If crafting isn’t your thing, buying sustainably has never been so easy. Charity shops and small businesses in your local community or online sites such as Etsy and Not on the High Street offer a great selection of eco-friendly and handmade baubles and trinkets.

VCC top tip: Ask friends, family or neighbours, if they have any decorations that they are no longer using. Sustainable and sentimental value, what could be better?


It’s easy to get wrapped up (no pun intended) in gifting at Christmas. Avoid overspending on unnecessary gifts that may end up unused, or worse - in landfill and get back to basics this Christmas with heartfelt presents that you can put your own stamp on. 

Making your own gifts is as easy as baking cookies, jams or condiments, or knitting a hat or scarf. Alternatively, experiences are great options for zero-waste gifting. Think cooking courses, afternoon tea or even adopting an animal.


Girl making a sustainable Christmas Wreath

Wreaths adorned with plastics and glitter can be harmful to the planet for years to come. Instead opt for a real, fresh wreath made using natural foliage, fruit and twine.

VCC top tip: Use fabric to make a wreath that can be used year after year. Watch a how-to guide here


Cloth wrapped Christmas presents, Christmas cookies and a potted plant cutting

Gifts wrapped in their own natural packaging - think plants or cookies in glass jars - mean minimal waste. If you want to add a little extra flair, re-using materials like magazines, newspapers or even old silk scarves to wrap your presents is a unique and zero-waste way to spread joy this Christmas.

The amount of plastic packaging sent to landfill in the UK each Christmas equates to around 114,000 tonnes. That’s the weight of 650,000 reindeer!


Christmas Tree

Plot of pine trees

Artificial trees are manufactured using oil, creating around two-thirds of their carbon footprint, according to Dr John Kazer of the Carbon Trust. A further quarter is created by the industrial emissions produced when the tree is made. They are then also often shipped long distances, contributing further.

With that in mind, opting for a real tree is the greener option, but we encourage you to take the following advice. Look for one that is locally produced, or grown in the UK with an FSC certification to avoid emissions from transporting and importing. Recycling by chipping, or planting in a pot or the garden can have low or even negative emissions. Most local councils now offer a collection service to do so.

VCC top tip: Keep hold of any loose or fallen pine needles and tie them in a cloth bag to keep your rooms or drawers fresh, post-Christmas.


Room decorated for Christmas with a laptop reading Merry Christmas & Happy New Year in the foreground

According to the GWP, the UK uses approx. 300,000 tonnes of cards during the festive period – enough to cover Big Ben 260,000 times! That's why this Christmas, we're sending e-gift cards. Zero-waste and zero cost = win-win.

VCC top tip: Send a plantable Christmas card to anyone unable to access an e-card.


Birds eye view of a family of 5 having a Christmas dinner

Meat and dairy account for almost 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Why not try a meat-free Christmas by swapping your turkey for a plant-based alternative instead?

If that's not an option, you could make small changes by trying to include more plant-based ingredients in your menu. If you have any food leftovers, avoid waste by offering them to family, friends, neighbours or local food banks and shelters.


Close up multicoloured spherical lights

Keep your carbon footprint - and your electricity costs low with energy-efficient Christmas lights. LED bulbs which require less energy to run are a great option, as are battery-operated packs or solar-powered lights for your outdoor displays.

Advent Calendar

Red fur trimmed Christmas stockings hanging from a garland of lights

Convert old boxes or unused material into a fun Christmas calendar for kids or adults alike. Fill each day with a treat or something special and make your Christmas countdown one to remember. Watch a tutorial here.

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