How To Have An Eco-Friendly Christmas

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Going green is as easy as switching up a few elements of your usual Christmas routine. Having an Eco-friendly Christmas doesn’t have to mean going vegan and forfeiting the season. We have some tips on the small things you can do to have yourself a sustainable holiday season. So, if you were wondering, how can I have an Eco-friendly Christmas? We have you covered.


Reuse Reduce Recycle

With wrapping paper, it’s quite simple. You can finish the roll you used the year before and with gift bags you can reuse those instead of throwing them out. Most wrapping paper isn’t recyclable. So check before you buy your roll.

Can I Recycle Wrapping Paper?

When it comes to recycling wrapping paper you should do the scrunch test. To do this you just scrunch it and it stays scrunched it can be recycled. If it unravels it probably has non-recyclable elements like foils and plastic. Also, avoid glitter because it is not biodegradable.

We like to use simple recycled brown paper wrapping paper which we decorate with dried orange slices, cinnamon sticks, rosemary twigs, small fir branches, or simple twine.

Reusable Wrapping

Either pick up some dedicated reusable wrapping paper. Or use some scraps, leftover fabric, or repurpose some old clothes you were about to throw out.

It is a traditional Japanese tradition called Furoshiki where reusable wrapping paper is used to wrapping gifts. 

You could use pure cotton bags, baskets, or simple wooden boxes that could easily be reused. More ideas for eco-friendly gift wrapping here.


Eco Friendly Christmas Dinner
Buy Food From Sustainable Sources

If you live near farms, they could be your first call when looking to eat a sustainable meal. Getting fresh organic meat and veggies will really make a difference. And it will lower your carbon footprint significantly.


Before the big day, to clear out your freezer you can make meals with the food you have or use those foods to prepare sides and clear space in your freezer. This just makes space for the leftovers you’ll have after a big Christmas dinner.

Even though leftovers are the perfect boxing day meal, the less the better when it comes to potential food waste. But that can be difficult with guests because you never know exactly how much they will eat and how much you’ll need to cook.

Vegetarian Meal

Vegan or vegetarian options cut out the meat factor which boosts the eco-friendliness of the meal. This doesn’t have to mean you eat salads and nut roasts all day. There are some amazing meat-free recipes out there. We have a few on our food page.

You don’t have to fully change your diet for a more eco-friendly Christmas but more vegetable components would help make your meal greener in both ways.

Christmas Cards

Christmas card being held up

Make Sure Cards Are Recyclable 

When buying your cards check that they come from responsible sources. You can see on the back of the card. It should say FSC approved or ‘Paper from responsible sources’. You can put these in recycling when you are done with them.

Another thing to do is avoid glitter like it’s the plague. Yes, a little glitter is cute on cards but the damage it does is not. Glitter isn’t usually bio degradable or recyclable so that card will have to go in the normal bin and add to pollutants on this planet which is not very eco-friendly.

If that’s too much hassle, send out e-cards this Christmas. Cut out the card entirely but still show you were thinking of someone this Christmas.

Plantable Cards

Getting a card that uses specially made paper that you can plant is incredibly good for the environment. It also means that your card can be used to add some life to the recipients’ garden. Wildflower Papers and Etsy have a range of seed paper you can use for homemade cards.

Christmas Trees

Christmas Tree Symbolism
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Get A Real Christmas Tree

Real trees are much more sustainable as they are renewable, but you need to dispose of them properly. Recyclenow allows you to send your tree to be recycled by being made into chippings for parks and woodland areas.

Artificial trees are okay as long as you keep reusing them until you can’t anymore. They are more cost-effective over time but not as eco-friendly if you’re getting a new one every year.


Branches of Mistletoe

DIY Decoration

Family heirloom decorations that have been passed down are the best but it’s understandable if you don’t have them. If you need new decorations DIY them. Make your own decorations and keep them to make your own future heirlooms.

We have some great guides for DIY ornaments, for example DIY Heart Ornament.

Foraged Decorations

Using foraged berries, mistletoe, pinecones and holly for decoration is sustainable and will give your home a natural and rustic feel.


When picking Christmas lights, use LED Christmas lights. They use up to 80% less energy than other kinds of lights and that reduces your carbon footprint, making your Christmas greener.

Advent Calendars

homemade advent calendar
Using small numbered bags or boxes are a cheap and reusable alternative

Get A Reusable Advent Calendar

Get a reusable advent calendar that you fill yourself. This will not only be sustainable but it will give you a new Christmas tradition of filling it as well as allowing you to completely personalise it.

Etsy has a great range of reusable advent calendars.


Christmas presents
Gifts That Last

Giving gifts that will last for years and years will make them more eco-friendly. For example, giving a friend a potted plant, vouchers for clothes or something to do with a hobby they have or even items for the home. These are all great gifts that will make an impact outside of the festive period.

Buy Locally

Not only does buying locally support your local businesses but it also reduces the carbon footprint of the gift making it quite eco-friendly.

Around December Christmas markets start popping up and they will have a whole host of unique and homemade gifts you can give.

Make A Gift

Making a gift is not only eco-friendly but also shows the recipient you took the time to make them something from the heart. Examples of gifts you can make are; cookies and box them nicely, paint the recipient a picture or even sew something. For more examples, see our post Homemade Christmas Gifts

You may also like this post on Christmas Eve Boxes.

Hopefully this Christmas you take a little step to being more eco-friendly without having to sacrifice anything you love.

How to have an eco-friendly Christmas