For many of us, Christmas is a time to push the boat out and spoil ourselves and our loved ones - especially after last year's cancelled celebrations. But if you're looking to reduce how much your household consumes and make some eco-friendly changes this year without becoming a scrooge, keep reading for our tips.
Have you ever thought about what happens to the 8 million real Christmas trees bought in the UK each year after the last of the Quality Street has been eaten? Some are recycled and turned into compost or chippings for gardens, but many end up in landfill. To ensure your tree is dealt with sustainably, consider renting it – after Christmas, it will be taken away and replanted. Do your research and choose a supplier close to home to keep the carbon footprint as low as possible.
2. Get planting
If you do choose to buy your own tree, go for a container-grown one, and plant it in your garden after the festive season. Or, you can even use it again next Christmas! Just keep it in its container before putting it outside. Due to growth, you can probably only get one more year out of it as an indoor tree, then it will need to be planted in the ground and left there permanently.
3. Clever cards
A staggering 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away each year so it’s a good idea to think about going paperless. Try sending e-cards instead, which are much cheaper, and often even free. But if going digital is one step too far, seeded cards are a brilliant alternative. Made from paper containing tiny seeds, the card can be placed into soil and the seeds will grow into plants while the paper biodegrades – genius!
4. The right wrap
When buying your wrapping paper, make sure it doesn’t contain any non-recyclable elements or plastic, such as glitter or foil. Go one step further and choose gift wrap made from recycled paper, or stick to plain brown parcel paper for chic, simple style and decorate it yourself. You can even try hessian or jute for an extra rustic feel, which can also be reused by the recipient - add natural elements like pinecones and dried leaves to complete the look.
5. Light switch
Swap traditional incandescent Christmas lights for LED lights, which require a whopping 80% less energy. In fact, if every UK household made the switch, £11 million pounds would be saved, as well as 29,000 tonnes of CO2, so it really is win-win.
6. Cracker crack-down
The UK gets through a phenomenal 100 million Christmas crackers each year – which also means lots of waste and plastic that ends up in the bin. Opt for plastic-free eco-friendly crackers (we love these from the RSPB) or even reusable ones that you can fill with your own gifts to make them truly special. You might miss the bang, but we can almost guarantee you won’t miss the tiny moustache comb or that ‘fortune telling’ fish!
7. Shop local
After the last 18 months, our independent shops need us more than ever, so spending your cash in local businesses is a great way to sustain the local economy. You’re bound to find all sorts of unique gifts that the recipient won’t have seen before, and if you can get there on foot or bicycle, the benefits are doubled!
8. The gift that keeps on giving
Think about giving your loved ones a gift that lasts or doesn’t contain elements that will be thrown away. A houseplant or a selection of succulents make a wonderful present and can potentially last forever, making them a great alternative to flowers.
9. Less food
It can be tempting to stock up on mountains of food, but it's a good idea to be little more mindful about how much you actually need to prevent waste. And remember, most foods can be frozen – even cheese – so keep as much leftover stilton as you can to cheer yourself up in January!
10. Secret Santa
If you’re keen to keep the amount of ‘stuff’ to a minimum, or want to save on costs, consider the workplace favourite – Secret Santa – at home. That way, each family member gets one ‘big’ present while also only spending money on one gift. At the JoJo office, we love a bit of the 'sneaky' version but play at your own risk – we can’t be held responsible for the fights that may ensue!