Getting Festive Sustainably


This time of year is for eating and gift giving among your neighbours, friends and family. If you haven’t already been eating mince pies, carolling and posting cards you will be soon enough!

The festive period brings joy for many. But it isn’t all merry. We’re thinking particularly about the planet.  Take a moment to consider the $1 trillion spending spree and the 30% increase in waste. How can we retain the magic of the silly season without the waste? How can we do all of this a bit more sustainably?

Here are some links and ideas from our friends at Groundwork UK to help you make this a festive season that doesn’t cost the planet

Food and Drink

The Soil Association reckons a typical Christmas dinner racks up 49,000 miles in imported ingredients, equivalent to two journeys around the world. There’s also the mountains of waste. And the promotion of industrial farming methods … poor planet 🌍
What to do?
Buy local
Buy seasonal
Buy organic
Be waste aware

Check out the Soil Association for local food providers and veg box schemes near you.

Going meat free this year? Here a recipe that’ll keep everybody happy: Cranberry and lentil bake – the perfect alternative to a gobbling turkey

Presents, Decorations and Christmas Cards

In place of wrapping paper which often cannot be recycled, why not try one of these alternatives? A beautifully tied scarf  , a reusable cloth bag, or recyclable brown paper decorated with felt pens or ink stamps.

Lots of Christmas decorations are made from plastic, so why not make paper chains (hello 1980s nostalgia) from old magazines or buy some sari fabric bunting. You could also make decorations from salt dough or double up and make edible decorations.

Fancy hitting the shops? Here are some of our favourite stops for sustainable and ethical decorations: @papertreeuk do sprigs of mistletoe made from eco-friendly paper. @friends_earth have sets of cheery hand painted baubles made in Kashmir with environmentally friendly techniques and packaged in recycled card. @unicef market are selling gorgeous bells carved from weeping willow and festively decorated by Unicef supported craftsman Syed Izaz Hussein in India. @namasteuk wool felt snowmen look adorable on our tree. Made using trad needle felting methods, these are handmade from sheep’s wool in rural villages. ✨

Don’t forget to recycle your Christmas cards by turning them into cards and decorations for next year. Check out some ideas here. And be sure to buy this year’s from your favourite charity.

Christmas Trees

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree! Where can I get you sustainably?

Remember that it takes 7 years to grow a 2m Christmas tree during which time it acts as a carbon sink, trapping CO2 and using ten times less resources than artificial tree factories. So (unless you can get creative with park-found twigs or plan to keep that artificial tree for a decade or more) head to a trusted tree farmer. For extra green points buy a potted specimen to plant out after the big day.

Make sure you buy from a sustainable supplier. Two of the best in the Groundwork hometown of Birmingham are Woods Farm and Cannock Chase. Search for your locally approved grower here.

Once you’re done with your tree, there are plenty of schemes which will help you to recycle it. Whatever you do, don’t leave your tree on the side of the street. Check out your local council

Happy tree hunting! Hope you have a wonderful, sustainable season.

About the Author:

Lorna’s all about purpose led comms. She champions the power of connection. When she’s not talking, writing and recording at her desk she’s making pottery or has her nose in a book.