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I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas! How to Stay Sustainable This Festive Period


It’s that time of the year where caution is thrown to the wind and it’s easy to feel like you have a free pass for a month to indulge to your heart's content.

While there’s nothing wrong with getting into the spirit of things, it’s also important to remember that we are still in the midst of a climate crisis, and at the risk of sounding like a scrooge, it’s important to try and be sensible and sustainable where possible.

It can be difficult to know what’s best for the planet this festive period so we’ve put together some quick pointers to keep you both merry and green this Christmas.

Shop local

This applies to any time of year but is especially important during Christmas when spending is at an all time high. When selecting food for your Christmas dinner try to only buy goods which have been sourced locally, as transporting goods around the globe leaves an enormous carbon footprint. This could mean buying food produced in the UK or exclusively shopping at smaller local stores who operate in a more sustainable way than larger chains.

Rent a tree

The vast majority of Christmas trees get chopped down, displayed for a month, and then thrown out – which seems like a bit of a waste when you think about it. Enter tree rental.

More and more places nowadays are renting trees out for the festive season. Pay for your tree, put it up in your living room, and then after December, someone comes and collects it and replants it, ready for next year. Not only is this good for the environment, but it also means you don’t have to leave your sad looking tree to rot in early January. Win win.

Say no to delivery

It seems to be a long time ago that people would do their Christmas shopping in the flesh, popping into shops and browsing what was available. With massive retailers like Amazon offering the ability to peruse the entirety of the world’s inventory of goods and get next day delivery at the push of a button, it seems almost antiquated to actually go shopping. The amount of damage that our shift to delivery is doing to the environment is massive however, and although it might seem an inconvenience to brave the December weather / crowds, Mother Nature will thank you.

Send an e-card

While sending a physical Christmas card is still for many seen to be one of the cornerstones of a successful Christmas, a cynic would say that they’re simply a waste of paper that will get thrown out in a couple of weeks.

According to researchers from Imperial College around 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away in the UK each year. If you still want to send some Christmas cheer then do it via an e-card which less hassle, better for the environment and saves you having to write the same thing 30 times.

Have a veggie Christmas

For most of us this is definitely easier said than done and having a Christmas without any meat will seem to some to be a completely alien concept. No turkey, no lamb, and (worst of all) no pigs in blankets (the horror!) would leave some people on the verge of a mental breakdown. There is little doubt (sadly) that our consumption of meat is leading factor in climate change for a variety of reasons. Thankfully, there are plenty of veggie alternatives that could hit the spot – you might need to get a bit creative and steer away from the classics, but where’s the harm in that!

Recycle gifts

Every year you will receive a couple of presents that only really come out of the packaging as a courtesy, with some not even making it that far. Now this might seem a bit cheeky, but as long as your previously unwanted gifts are in a half decent condition, simply blow off the dust, wrap them up and re-gift them. Just make sure that you don’t return the gift to the person who gave it to last year otherwise you might be in for a slightly awkward moment.

Don’t buy too much

While many see Christmas as a time when indulgence can be forgiven it’s important to try not to go overboard when it comes to your consumption. Many gifts never see any good use and are sadly destined for the bin while the amount of food that is wasted over the Christmas period due to overbuying is huge. While we would never suggest having a bare bones Christmas it’s always worth stopping and thinking when you're out buying whether or not this is something that you will actually need.

Michael Quinn
Michael Quinn

Michael is a dedicated author helping usave to write guides, blogs and news for the last four years. When not writing articles, you can usually find him at wine tasting events or having a political debate on the night tube.

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