Top tips on creating a green Christmas

green christmas

Dreaming of a Woke Christmas… 1/2 of Brits Intend on Going Green This Christmas, finds survey.

  • Over 1/2 of respondents say they won’t be sending a Christmas card this year.
  • 43% would give second-hand gifts.
  • Tips for having a more sustainable Christmas.
  • More than 1 million Londoners are set to go meat free this festive season in an effort to offset their Christmas carbon footprint. 

For many, being a sustainable consumer is front of mind this holiday season. Endless amounts of wrapping paper, plastic toys and Christmas gadgets is enough to make most shudder in light of this year’s escalation in climate change news. There are many ways you can easily reduce your carbon footprint e.g. using brown paper instead of wrapping paper, switching off fairy lights when you are not there and where possible, buying second-hand gifts.

Experts in pre-owned luxury jewellery, William May, conducted a survey of 3,000 Brits to find out how many are willing to make significant changes for a more mindful Christmas this year.

The survey found that half of Brits said they intend on being more sustainable this Christmas. For example, a significant 57% of respondents said they would reduce the amount of Christmas cards they send this year in order to cut down on waste. With so many ways to send them digitally, it does feel like one of the easier ways to reduce waste this festive season.

Another way to help the environment is to recycle gifts. One third of Brits (32%) say they would gladly give a pre-owned gift instead of buying new, and 44% say they would be happy to receive a pre-owned gift.

When asked which items are the most acceptable to buy as second-hand gifts, 37% of people said jewellery, 18% said toys, 18% said games, 14% said home items, 9% said art and 4% said clothes. The research also found that 39% of Brits say that the current economic climate would make them more likely to give a pre-owned gift this Christmas to save money. More than 1 in 10 (15%) even plan on making their own Christmas gifts this year and promisingly, over one third (38%) enjoy receiving these over shop-bought products!

Here are some tips for a more sustainable Christmas:

  • Choosing gifts that last, such as indoor plants, which are also kinder to the environment.
  • Use eco-friendly wrapping paper. Products such as sticky tape, ribbons and glitter can’t be recycled, so consider using recyclable brown paper.
  • Buy local – this helps support a local, sustainable economy.
  • Make your own gifts – another great way to help the environment!
  • Consider choosing organic, locally sourced ingredients when making your Christmas dinner.
  • Choosing LED Christmas lights is an easy way to make your holiday more sustainable. They are more expensive up front, but they last longer and use far less electricity than traditional lights.
  • Artificial trees can’t be recycled and many are manufactured using harmful chemicals. Using a fresh, locally cut tree is far better for the environment. There are even some companies you can rent trees from, which they then re-plant.

Lisa Faulkner has collaborated for the Smart Energy GB campaign to help people have a more sustainable Christmas. She comments: “Sustainability must be for life, not just for Christmas. But it’s great to see so many people making tangible changes to reduce their carbon footprint whilst still enjoying the festive season. Making small swaps, such as opting for low energy lightbulbs, real trees and getting a smart meter installed to track festive energy use can go a long way to protect the future of the planet.”

Lisa’s tips to have a Green Christmas at home are:

  • Defrost any frozen food at room temperature – cooking food from temperate will reduce cooking time, therefore saving energy
  • Get the family involved in cooking – not only will you spend some quality time together, but it’ll get people away from the TV and other appliances – so also cuts down on screen time
  • Find recipes that let you keep heat consistent – while a lot of people are giving up meat all together, those cooking turkey should know that 180 degrees is the most energy efficient
  • Turn the oven off when finished – if you keep the door closed, food will stay warm for roughly 30 minutes
  • Get a smart meter – smart meters help households to become more aware of their energy use and take steps to reduce it, while also improving the situation at a national level. By pooling all the data from the nation’s smart meters, a smart energy system can prevent waste at source by making far better assessments of the nation’s energy needs
  • Try cutting down on meat – for many, meat is traditional, but there are also a number of vegetarian or vegan alternatives such as nut roasts or mushroom wellingtons
  • Make a smart choice on the Christmas tree – experts are debating real vs plastic. If real, get it from a sustainable source – look for the FCS Certification. If plastic, consider second hand, or ensure it is one you will use for years to come
  • Recycle any old wrapping paper, ribbons and string from last year. If you don’t have any, save some from this year, for next
  • Use reusable decorations – decorations made with recycled glass, wood or fabric are a great alternative to plastic items that are non-recyclable. Opt for classic designs so you’re less likely to be tired of them by next Christmas
  • Get crafty – making your own gifts, Christmas cards, or Christmas decorations can save money but also mean that old items are recycled – reducing waste
  • Why not get your friends and family involved in a Secret Santa – rather than an exhaustive shopping list, this could make you buy a single more considered gift, rather than a number of smaller gifts
  • Make a list and check it twice. Write a list of what you need and stick to it

Will you go green this Christmas?


In case you are looking for places to do this festive season, check out 15 festive activities to do in London and where to find Santa in London, our Christmas gift guide.