Wooden background with Christmas leaves and text saying 'Top tips for sustainable Christmas giving'

Top tips for sustainable Christmas giving

We're in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, so how on earth do we have an eco-conscious Christmas? We believe there are lots of things you can do, lots of which will help save you some cash too. Remember that every pound you spend is a vote for the world you want to create, so Christmas is actually the perfect time to think sustainably!

Here we pull together our top tips for sustainable Christmas giving, helping you save money as well as supporting our planet.

Gift planning

Half of UK adults say they have received gifts they don't want and will never use. Some figures suggest 100m unwanted gifts are given in the UK every Christmas. Around 10 million of these go straight to landfill. 10 million. That is mind-boggling! 

Tip 1: Don't buy stuff that will get chucked away!

Reducing waste can be achieved by simply making sure you give items that people want, for example: 

  • Don't panic buy - make a list (check it twice!), have a budget and stick to your plan
  • Don't buy novelty gifts - these are the ones most likely to simply make their way to the bin come Boxing Day.
  • Ask people what they want
  • Organise a Secret Santa for groups - spend less and buy better for that one person rather than lots of small, perhaps unwanted, items

Person holding gift wrapped in brown paper with red twine

Tip 2: Gift experiences 

Reduce demand for physical resources and gift experiences instead, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination!

  • A voucher for a favourite restaurant or coffee shop (bonus points for supporting small, independent and unique businesses)
  • A voucher for something fun - how about alpaca walking, a VR experience or a theatre show?
  • Support charities in various ways - perhaps you could adopt an animal or fund a toilet in a developing country?
  • Pay for a subscription - perhaps for their favourite magazine, gym, coffee or membership to National Trust?
  • Travellers may love a voucher for a restaurant at the location of their next trip, or some local currency?¬†

Two alpacas looking at the camera

Tip 3: Shop sustainably for gifts

Thinking about eco-friendly gifts are a simply way to make your gifting a bit more sustainable but try to make sure it is something the receiver will really appreciate!

  • Reduce carbon emissions by supporting small businesses rather than the biggies, especially if they are local to you. You may be lucky enough to have independent stores locally, be able to visit some Christmas craft fairs, or try Etsy or Folksy for handmade, quality and eco-friendly gifts.
  • Shop pre-loved - fab finds can be made in charity shops, Vinted, eBay or Gumtree. Wob.com is a fantastic website for second-hand, quality books, with money going to the authors too.¬†
  • Make your own - a batch of Christmas cookies in a reusable jar is a perfect option, create a photo book for thoughtful memories or upcycle a charity shop find.
  • Choose eco-friendly materials¬†- avoid single-use plastic, select reusables or consider a gift voucher for a sustainable business.

Plate of Christmas tree shaped cookies

Tip 4: Sustainable Christmas wrapping 

UK families use, on average, 4 rolls of wrapping paper every year! Most of it goes straight to landfill. Reduce your waste impact easily with these tips.

  • Use recyclable paper - you can recycle paper if it scrunches easily in your hand. Metallic and glittery papers must be binned.¬†
  • Use paper tape instead of traditional sticky tapes - this can be recycled.
  • Question whether you need to wrap at all - furoshiki (the Japanese art of wrapping gifts in fabric) is beautiful and reusable.
  • Avoid plastic bows and ribbons and use compostable twines or natural decorations instead.
  • Reuse - save your gift bags to use next year, and create next year's tags from this year's cards!

Gifts wrapped in reused fabric and Christmas tree branches/holly

Check out some fantastic sustainable wrapping options at The Green Turtle. 

Pop over to The Green Turtle and explore lots of other environmentally friendly options to inspire you!

We'd love to hear your top tips too. Why not contact us or share your tips on our social media? Follow us also on Facebook and Instagram @Thegreenturtleuk. 

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