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12 Ways To Have An Eco-Friendly Christmas

Written by Redrow

15 Nov 2021

In this article Katey, alongside Redrow’s sustainability team, bring you 12 ways you can still have a cracking eco-friendly Christmas, just a little more sustainably.

“It’s no secret that Christmas is the season of excess. On the waistline, pocket and environment”, says sustainable influencer Katey Bamber, whose Instagram account, @my_plastic_free_home, has gained over 90,000 followers since launching in 2018. 

1. Eat more variety

Katey says: “It’s always been a tradition to have a meat dish with all the trimmings on Christmas day, and we know that meat can be bad for the environment, so why not serve a smaller amount of the meaty stuff and add lots more variety with different vegetable dishes? There are thousands of exciting veggie and vegan recipes out there just begging to be tried out, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t tried them sooner.”

2. Buy your food locally

“Another great thing that you can do to make your plate more sustainable is to support your local business owners and buy your food locally,” says Katey. “Local food means a lower carbon footprint and you’re spending money in your own community and supporting local farmers. It’s one of the best things that you can do for the environment.”

3. Buy your drinks locally

“The same goes for your Christmas drinks,” adds Katey. “Do you stop to think where your booze comes from? Try to opt for ciders and beers that are produced in the UK, look for wines from Europe and see if you can find some artisan producers local to you for that special treat. It all helps you to be that bit more sustainable.”

4. DIY your Christmas!

Whether you have children or not, making Christmas decorations and gifts is one of the most rewarding things you can do at Christmas time. Katey’s top foraging ideas include using berries for infused liquors, making DIY self-care hampers and stringing homemade bunting around your home. She says: “The whole process will have you connecting with the festive spirit, help you take a step out of the fast lane and bring you so much satisfaction.”

5. Forage for decorations

Katey loves to make decorations from items she finds in her local areas. She explains: “I’ll leave the Christmas tree out of this because I don’t advise going out and finding a tree to cut down, but there are so many ornamental berries and so much foliage begging to be snipped that will make the most luxurious Christmas decorations, wreaths, table centres and finishing touches for your wrapping. 

“And speaking of Christmas trees – did you know that you can now rent them? If that isn’t available to you and you like a ‘real’ tree, think local again and support a farm that plants more when cutting them down.”

6. Less presents, more presence

“It’s very easy to get carried away with the gift giving at Christmas time but remember it’s the memories that make Christmas so special, not the amount of money you spend or the number of presents under the tree,” Katey believes. She adds: “My fondest memories of gifts are the quirky ones my great aunt gave to me when I was a child. We also have a Christmas cake decorating tradition in our home, which is almost as special to me as Christmas Day itself, and arguably more memorable.”

7. Use recycled wrapping paper

“If you’ve asked yourself ‘how to have a sustainable Christmas?’ then choosing eco-friendly Christmas wrapping paper from recycled materials is a great place to start,” says Redrow’s sustainability manager Olivia Ward. “You can find some beautiful eco wrapping paper at high street shops like WH Smith for affordable prices. The same goes for eco-friendly Christmas cards. Avoid foil and glitter varieties that are harder to recycle or contain small plastics that can easily find their way into the water supply.”

8. Shop vintage and preloved

“Second hand does not mean second best when you’re shopping for eco-friendly Christmas gifts,” explains Olivia. “There are so many beautiful vintage and preloved items available, that you can re-purpose or personalise and give to a loved one. Gifts with history or a story behind them can often mean so much more than something that is brand new. Invest in antiques for your friends and family, and give them something they can then keep and pass on to future generations.”

9. Buy a reusable advent calendar

Mass produced chocolate advent calendars are often made with plastic and foil that are difficult to recycle. Olivia suggests buying a reusable advent calendar that you can bring out every December 1st for years to come. “If you choose a wooden or fabric advent calendar, you can add your own small gift of chocolate behind each door or in each fabric pocket, which children will love discovering each day. There are lots of options for reusable advent calendars on websites like Etsy.”

10. Do a toy swap with friends

“A pre-Christmas clear out is often at the top of parents’ to do lists,” says Olivia. “Why not link up with friends with younger children who will gladly take some of your pre-used toys off your hands if they are still in great condition? And ask friends with older children if they have any toys they no longer play with that they’d like to hand down. You will likely be doing them a huge favour by helping them to declutter. Don’t be shy, just tell them you’re cutting down on your carbon footprint and let’s all make re-using and recycling the norm!”

11. Choose handmade eco-friendly Christmas crackers

There is much to be said about choosing alternative traditions to those which create waste, such as Christmas crackers. However, if you still want to stick with tradition, opt for sustainable, handmade items with a lower carbon footprint like these Christmas crackers from Not on the High Street. Or you if you’ve wondered how to make eco-friendly Christmas crackers yourself, it’s really easy – and a great festive craft idea to do with the children once the school holidays start. 

12. Replant or recycle your Christmas tree

“Katey mentioned about renting your eco-friendly Christmas tree, which is a brilliant idea to reduce waste,” says Olivia. “But if you do opt for a ‘real’ tree then do you research on recycling initiatives in your area so your tree doesn’t end up in landfill come January 6th.

Another option is to replant your Christmas tree once you’ve taken your decorations down. Opt for a pre-potted tree with the roots still intact and replant it in your garden in the new year.”


For more useful tips and advice follow Katey at @my_plastic_free_home or see our 12 tips to improve your sustainability at home.