Updated: Feb 15
December is the month of festivals, family, light and giving - including Christmas 🎄. We’ve put together a list of things you can do to have a more sustainable Christmas this year!
Tip1: Real Christmas tree or fake Christmas tree?
We’ve got some bad news: a 2 meter plastic tree can have a carbon footprint of up to 40kg CO2e according to the Carbon Trust (the same as driving more than 150 km in a petrol car!). Real trees have a much lower footprint - 16kg CO2e if they end up in landfill (hello methane emissions) and even a negative footprint if they’re turned into wood chips or kept in your garden!
So: go for a natural tree if you can, locally grown, FSC certified and better yet - one that you can borrow every year like Beter Boompje in the Netherlands. Or: if you already have a plastic tree - keep on using it for as long as you can!
Tip2: Make your own sustainable Christmas decorations
This ones easy and creative! Christmas decorations are often made from plastic and aren’t recyclable (looking at you, tinsel!). So what can you do?
We love creating our own Christmas tree decorations with these cute origami 3D stars. Just add string and you’ve got yourself some colorful homemade (and recyclable) decorations!
Check out your local charity shop and upcycle any decorations you find there!
Go for LED lights on your tree (they use less energy) and don’t forget to turn them off at night 😉
Got any old fruit lying around? Make these cool dried fruit ornaments.
Tip3: More sustainable Christmas gifting
We love gifting as much as the next person - but there are more sustainable options out there. Here are a few:
Gift an experience: go for drinks, get tickets for a show, book dinner or give a coupon so they can choose what they want.
Go for quality not quantity - or make a gift list so the gifts you give are wanted!
Try and buy items not made from single use plastic and that will last a long time
Re-gift something you already have but don’t use and you think someone else will enjoy it more!
Tip4: Sustainable wrapping options
In the United States, an additional five million tons of waste is generated over Christmas, four million of which is wrapping paper and shopping bags! Wrapping paper often contains plastic, glitter or foil that cannot be recycled. This year you can make a difference by giving one of these alternatives a go:
Check to see if your wrapping paper is re-usable, recyclable and compostable, like those made by Wrappily.
You can also try out fabric wrapping (called Furoshiki) using a nice scarf or fabric that can be re-used many times!
Why not go for good old-fashioned newspaper, brown paper or even old maps?
Avoid the tape: we challenge you to wrap without any tape! (Yes there’s a wikihow for that 😉) or use string.
Tip: wanna know if your wrapping paper contains plastic? Scrunch a bit up into a ball and if it stays scrunched up it’s paper but if it springs back out it probably has plastic in it! For more tips check out the Mind the Wrap campaign!
Tip5: Sustainable christmas outfit options
Go for a sustainable option this year and shop in your own wardrobe (or your best friends’!). Second-hand shops are also a great option or if you reaaaaallly want a new fancy outfit go for one you can use for other occasions. Or you can rent one, like from Lena’s Fashion Library.
Tip6: Traveling home for christmas
When it’s time to head home for Christmas it’s a great opportunity to try out some more sustainable options. Driving home? Try and car share! Plus google now helps to identify the most eco-friendly routes. Don’t have a car but need to drive? Try an electric and see how it is 😉 Taking the train? Nice one!
Tip7: A more plant-based christmas dinner
A more plant-based Christmas is good for you and the planet - the livestock industry contributes 14.5% to all man-made greenhouse gas emissions and to deforestation. Eating plant-based for even one day a week for a year can help save up to 200kg CO2! And if everyone in the Netherlands would east plant-based for 1 day a week for a year - that would save more than 3 million tons of CO2e 🤯. There are plenty of recipes out there to give a go, like these from the BBC.
Tip8: Avoid food waste this christmas
This one will save waste and money! The cost of Christmas increases every year - as does food waste. In Europe almost 88 million tons of food waste are produced every year. If you plan your meals according to the number of guests it will be easier to avoid excess food waste! Got leftovers? Get creative! You can turn them into some tasty sandwich fillings or turn them into a delicious oven dish - check out your options here.
Tip9: Reconnect with nature
Get outside for some fresh air and stretch your legs. You’ve worked hard this year and getting out into the forest will clear your head!
Tip10: Do what you can, compensate for what you can’t
Done all the things above? Nice one! You’re making a difference by doing what you can. Plus your guests will be inspired by all the things you’ve done 😉. Did you know you can do more with Club Leaf by compensating for your remaining emissions this Christmas?
Download the app to measure your footprint and compensate for your Christmas!