The festive period is fast approaching and there’s no escaping it.


Presents, cards, decorations, even trees; Christmas invades our lives for the month of December. Unfortunately, Christmas also comes with packaging and waste. This year we’re trying to do things a little differently and trying to have a sustainable Christmas.

Making your Christmas more sustainable

Trying to transform your Christmas might seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Christmas can be overwhelming, when you think about shopping for presents, cards, food, and decorations, then wrapping the presents, posting the cards, cooking the food, eating the food, and putting up the decorations. Adding in more work to make it sustainable might seem like a nightmare.


However, having a sustainable Christmas can actually make things easier. In many ways, it’s just taking the same principles you apply to make your life sustainable, and applying them to Christmas.

Sustainability is for life, not just for Christmas

The UN Environment Programme have 5 top tips for living more sustainably. They are:


  1. Choose local, plant-based options when it comes to food
  2. Avoid short car trips
  3. Make simple changes at home and work
  4. Think before buying
  5. Rediscover local attractions


At first glance it might seem difficult to apply these principles to Christmas, but with a little digging it’s easy to see how they can help make Christmas more sustainable.


For example, choosing local food can be straight forward: rather than going to a national supermarket to buy your meat, you could go to your local butchers. They’ll often source their meat from local farms, meaning when you shop with them you’re benefitting an entirely local supply chain.

Not everything can be sustainable

Whilst sustainability is more important than ever, it’s equally important to find the balance.


Number three on the UN’s list, making simple changes at home, talks about reducing the use of electricity, heating and cooling devices. Unfortunately, Christmas is not the best time to do this, but small changes can make all the difference.


There’s a saying: don’t set yourself on fire to keep others warm. In an ideal world, we’d all keep our Christmas lights switched off and our electricity bills and carbon footprints low. However, Christmas is incredibly important to so many people, it’s how they come together with their friends, families and loved ones, it’s how they celebrate being together. By making small manageable changes, overtime it will make an impact.

Sustainability has to be sustainable

Avoiding short car trips is one of the UN’s tips that could work either way at Christmas.


If you’re off work or at home with your loved ones, you might not drive anywhere for a week or two. However, if you’re part of a large, spread-out family, and you want to visit everyone, you might find yourself using your car more than usual!


As well as finding the balance, it’s all about finding what’s right for you.


It’s important to remember: utilising all 5 of the UN’s tip into your Christmas would be great, but including a handful would also be just as great.


Whether you already try and have a sustainable Christmas, or you’re just starting, doing something is better than nothing. Even if you only recycle a small fraction of your wrapping paper, or buy a small amount of your food from your local butcher, you’re still making an impact.