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7 tips for a sustainable Christmas

Christmas can be fun-filled time of year but for some it can be stressful and even lonely. Here are 7 tips to help you get through the festive-season with a warm-glow on the inside as well as out.

1) Choose sustainable Christmas decorations

If you already have plastic decorations, no need to worry, just make them last. When the time is right to replace them, look for natural materials – wood, cotton and hessian make pretty, traditional decorations for tree and home.

2) Buy real Christmas trees sustainably

Look for the FSC certification when choosing your Christmas tree, to make sure it’s grown sustainably. To avoid pesticides, look for the Soil Association logo. At the end of the season, so that your tree isn’t one of the 6 million thrown away every year, you can either pot it for next year, put it in your compost or give it to your council for recycling.

Christmas tree in Vilnius Lithuania

3) Consider those with less this Christmas

When we have so much ourselves, (and with nearly 60 million unwanted presents being given in the UK) consider donating to those who aren’t likely to get a lot for Christmas. Gifts such as beehives, seeds, cows or even radios can helps families to support themselves and build a future for themselves.

4) If you're on your own at Christmas

When you have time on your own at Christmas, it can be really worthwhile spending it with people who don't have anyone with them over Christmas. You might consider volunteering at a soup kitchen or in a homeless shelter? If you google 'volunteer at Christmas', charities such as, Crisis and The Salvation Army have services all over the country.

5) If you're worried about someone on their own at Christmas

For many, Christmas is a lonely time when the absence of loved ones is felt even more keenly. With nearly a million people on their own at Christmas time, there are charities such as Age UK, which offer 'befriending' services. These match you with an elderly person who would otherwise be alone.

Charity starts at home though. Check in with an elderly neighbour, take them a mince pie, help them with their shopping, or call someone you know is on their own. 

6) Waste not, want not

Avoid pre-packaged foods where possible and buy loose items so you only buy what you need. If you do end up with surplus, don’t throw them, create some tasty leftover dishes. If there’s still too much you can donate those Christmas leftovers to the local food bank or homeless shelter. Any veg left after that will be perfect for the compost heap.

7) Get creative with your Christmas wrapping

Many wrapping papers today contain glitter and plastic, so use brown paper where you can, as it can be more widely recycled. Did you know that wrapping paper used at Christmas is enough to go around the earth nine times!

Don’t forget that sustainability is for life, not just for Christmas – check out our Responsible Tourism page for other tips and information on living and travelling responsibly.

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