by Julie Howe

This is one of the hardest times of year to stick with sustainable living intentions, as it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of consumerism that Christmas can sometimes seem to be. We’ve probably all bought unsuitable presents in desperation on Christmas Eve before!

Here are some ideas to keep your Christmas Carbon footprint in check:

Buy less: experiences are often more welcome gifts than things, especially for adults whose houses are already full (how about a spa voucher, a cinema or theatre token or gift membership of a museum or club?)

Buy pre-loved: antiques, jewellery and collectibles can be more distinctive than something bought on the High St.

Avoid batteries: or buy a rechargeable battery set to go with a battery powered gift.

Christmas jumpers: about 12m new jumpers are bought every year, even though many people have them in the wardrobe and only wear them for a couple of days a year. Charity shops have a great selection, rather than buying new, or why not have fun customising a jumper you already own?

Cut out the wrap waste: wrap presents in reusable gift bags, large scarves or pre-loved paper and reduce the amount of single use wrapping paper you end up throwing away. I made some bags out of scraps of left over material this year.

Old calendars and Christmas cards from last year make great labels.

Choose a living tree that can be planted out after Christmas and live in the garden until next year.

Reduce the number of lights and use LED bulbs to decorate (also saving on the electricity bill). Switch off outdoor lights when you go to bed.

It can be fun to decorate an outdoor tree for the birds.  You can use seed bells, suet balls, pine cones with peanut butter, and seed cakes made in festive shapes. Make ‘tinsel’ from strings of popcorn, peanuts or cranberries. Hang up fruit and biscuits as well as a treat.

Think about reducing the overall amount of meat and dairy (if you eat them) you eat over the holiday by balancing these with some vegan or vegetarian alternatives. If you can’t forego turkey or goose, choose a vegan/ vegetarian starter and make sure you choose a suet free pudding and mince pies.

Finally, make sure you recycle, regift (don’t forget the charity shop) and compost when Christmas is over.

Merry Sustainable Christmas Everyone!