How to have the most sustainable Christmas ever

Ocado slots are being snapped up like Glasto tickets, Instagram snaps of Winter Wonderland are littering your feed and the inescapable notes of Mariah Carey are echoing off every shop front — yes, ladies and gents, Omicron or no Omicron, the festive season is officially upon us.

How to have the most sustainable Christmas ever
© Getty Images/iStockphoto African-american couple stretching gift boxes to camera

While general merriment and an excuse to drink mulled wine in your office chair at 2pm are what gets most of us through the rest of the year (and god knows, it’s been a year), Christmas also opens the floodgates to a carnival of hyper-consumption.

From swathes of wrapping paper to bundles of plastic toys, groaning tables of food to endless Amazon orders of last-minute deliveries, we as a nation aren’t so hot on the eco-front when it comes to festivities. In fact, polls have found that the UK sends almost 100 million rubbish bags to landfill over the festive period, which is a lot of Quality Street wrappers.

But all is not lost. Don’t cancel the big day just yet, there are sustainable swaps for almost every part of your Christmas ritual that make it kinder to the planet (really) — and often easier on the purse strings, too. You and Mother Earth can thank us later.

Give the gift of green

Let’s start at the very beginning — because if you haven’t started your Christmas shopping, you’re already lagging behind. One of the easiest ways of going green is to ditch “stuff” altogether. Giving tickets or experiences will not only save on wrapping but could help out the businesses that have struggled during the pandemic. Check out your favourite local restaurants — many will do vouchers, from high-end pub grub at The Camberwell Arms, to London chic-chain Caravan, to haute cuisine at The Clove Club.

If vouchers aren’t up your street, there’s no reason to look any further than our own island for gifts that are big on luxury and low on air miles. Forest Wines, just off Blackhorse Road, has an abundance of locally sourced wines and beers, plus specially selected Walthamstow hampers for die-hard E17ers. Knock Knock by Smith and Brock is also doing hampers, and try Natty Boy Wines or Shop Cuvée for boxes of low-intervention wine, delivered to you by bike. You can also look to delivery services such as Abel & Cole or Farmdrop for their transparent sourcing and commitment to keeping carbon low and quality, organic produce high.

How to have the most sustainable Christmas ever
© Provided by Evening Standard A Farmdrop van (Farmdrop)

If foodie gifts aren’t whetting your appetite, try Crouch End Candles for its refillable offerings (who could dislike a candle whose scent is described as “hug”?). And if you’re really serious about beginning your eco journey, buy a refill starter kit for Haringey and Hackney’s Topup Truck, which is a roaming milk float that offers refills to locals: the kit includes bags, bottles and a £10 gift card.

Vintage offerings are equally as perfect — head to Skoob to peruse their 55,000 and counting selection of second-hand books, or Walden Books for a chance to bag a true rarity. Nip to Notting Hill for the fashion aficionados in your life, with the British Red Cross being one of vintage queen Bay Garnett’s top spots for browsing.

How to have the most sustainable Christmas ever
© Provided by Evening Standard Walden Books (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)

Of course, if you’re the kind of person who has too much time on their hands and is too thoughtful for their own good, you can always make your own. Give the gift of Alton Brown’s homemade aged eggnog to truly impress, or go super green and cop a kit from Bloom & Wild and make your own plant pot.

Deck the halls (with eco-tinsel)

Don’t skip past this if you’re already done and dusted with your tree decorations for this year, you’re going to want to get ahead for 2022. With seven million trees going to landfill every year, rental tree services are springing up everywhere now, with the majority selling out for this season long ago. London Christmas Tree Rental, which offers an option to rent the same tree year-on-year from their hubs across the capital, advises signing up to their mailing list to be informed for next year — but if you’re truly stuck, their miniature Holly Berry children’s trees are still in plentiful supply.

How to have the most sustainable Christmas ever
© Provided by Evening Standard London Christmas Tree Rental’s Holly Berry tree (London Christmas Tree Rental)

Co-founder Catherine Loveless is passionate about changing attitudes towards festive sustainability. “If everybody was able to change just one of their behaviours, whether it’s wrapping paper or trees, it all adds up,” she says. “Ever since I’ve worked with trees, I’ve become a lot more mindful about my own behaviour.” Every little helps.

Still in the market for a whopper to rock around this year? Go for real over faux to avoid pesky plastic and make sure it’s collected responsibly — most London councils offer tree collection come January. For last minuters, The Stem offers UK-grown Norway spruces, with 10 trees planted for every one cut down, and delivers straight to you in an electric van to keep carbon footprint elf-sized.

If you’ve sorted the tree and are gazing at bare branches hoping for inspiration, you’re in luck. Arket and Re-Found Objects both offer a plethora of paper options for a plastic-free alternative to the usual smattering of baubles, whilst Eco Tinsel stocks — yes, you guessed it — eco-friendly tinsel.

Set it aglow with LED lights to save on CO2, and opt for solar-powered bulbs to impress your neighbours with your outdoor display this year. Of course, the best way to stay sustainable when it comes to decorating is to use what you already have — so dig out that dusty box from the loft and give some tired baubles a new lease of life with a biodegradable glitter kit from Wearth.

Wrap it up (with reusable paper)

Chic wrapping might be a chance to earn some creative kudos under the tree, but in the UK we throw away an estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper every year. So what’s the alternative? Well, Wearth offers both recycled and reusable gift wrap in a variety of cheery festive prints, whilst Plus has created a dissolvable wrapping paper that can simply be chucked in the bath (!) once it’s been ripped to shreds by gleeful hands. &Keep has a lovely selection of biodegradable tape (some even printed with oh-so-cute snowmen), whilst Wrappuccino has created a cotton booze bag for presenting a festive tipple.

View this post on Instagram

When it comes to cards, email alternatives — while apparently the best option for sustainability — just don’t scream festive fun. If you can’t bear to hit “send” on a badly photoshopped e-card, there are eco alternatives. Wildflower Favours are selling plantable cards in packs of 10, with UK-grown seeds inside that are reportedly amazing for insects, while 1 Tree Cards plants a tree for every one of their recycled cards sold. If you’re short on time and are browsing your local instead, make sure to look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) mark to guarantee that the paper has been sourced ethically and sustainably.

Register now for one of the Evening Standard’s newsletters. From a daily news briefing to Homes & Property insights, plus lifestyle, going out, offers and more. For the best stories in your inbox, click here.

News Related


Kevin De Bruyne snubs Man Utd's Cristiano Ronaldo in dream 5-a-side team

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne has named his dream 5-a-side team – but there was no place for Manchester United rival Cristiano Ronaldo. De Bruyne was asked to pick ... Read more »

Anwar, Najib doakan kesembuhan Dr M

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Dr Mahathir Mohamad dirawat di Institut Jantung Negara lanjutan prosedur elektif yang berjaya dilaksanakan pada 8 Jan 2022. PETALING JAYA: Ketua Pembangkang Anwar Ibrahim ... Read more »

Lowry surges into contention | McIlroy improves in Abu Dhabi

© Getty Shane Lowry moved to within one shot of the lead after 54 holes at the Abu Dhabi Championship Shane Lowry will begin the final round of the Abu ... Read more »

Russell does not feel extra Mercedes pressure

© PA Images George Russell walks in Mercedes overalls. Abu Dhabi December 2021. George Russell is feeling “absolutely fine” ahead of his first campaign as a Mercedes driver, saying he’ll ... Read more »

'Atrocious', 'Does nothing' - Many Everton fans slam 'passenger' who lost the ball 18x vs AVFC

© Provided by Transfer Tavern Andros Townsend Everton Many Everton fans were left slamming the display of Andros Townsend in their game at home to Aston Villa in the Premier ... Read more »

Massimiliano Allegri confirms imminent Juventus transfer that could be bad news for Arsenal

Aaron Ramsey is set to leave Juventus this month, Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed. And according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the former Arsenal midfielder remains in talks over a return ... Read more »

Soccer-Africa’s four superstars fail to ignite Cup of Nations

© Reuters/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY FILE PHOTO: Africa Cup of Nations – Group D – Egypt v Sudan By Mark Gleeson (Reuters) – Africa’s four top players failed to make ... Read more »

PAS tanding PRN Johor, tapi belum muktamad kerjasama, kata Takiyuddin

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today PAS belum lagi memuktamadkan soal persiapan dan kerjasama dengan mana-mana parti sama ada dengan Umno atau Bersatu dalam PRN Johor. (Gambar Bernama) PETALING JAYA: ... Read more »

Chelsea looking at Bundesliga left-back to replace injured Chilwell

© PA Images Borna-Sosa-F365 Chelsea have identified Stuttgart left-back Borna Sosa as they look to find a replacement for the injured Ben Chilwell. Chilwell has been ruled out for the ... Read more »

Significant Fulham blow confirmed ahead of Stoke City clash

© Provided by Football League World Championship – Fulham v Swansea City Fulham will be without top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic when they take on Stoke City this afternoon. The Serbian ... Read more »

Wolves team news vs Brentford: Raul Jimenez misses out as Fabio Silva starts

Wolves Owners Fosun Won't Let Adama Traore Saga Drag On Much Further' See more videos What to watch next £35m Fabio Silva Transfer Is Still Costing Wolves And Bruno Lage ... Read more »

Captain Eoin Morgan talks up England's T20 World Cup bid on Australian soil

Eoin Morgan believes Australian conditions will bolster England’s chances at the T20 World Cup this year. Back in November, Morgan’s men failed in their bid to become the first nation ... Read more »

2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, Cadillac Escalade V and more: Roadshow's week in review

Welcome back to the week in review. This week, we had a whole lot of news and cars to talk about. But there’s really the case any week, honestly. Dive ... Read more »

Russia offered Iran interim nuclear deal with US' knowledge - report

© (photo credit: The White House/Handout via REUTERS) US President Joe Biden holds virtual talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens with other officials, ... Read more »

'Baffled by his demeanour', 'Sunday League standard' - Many AVFC fans slam 'appalling' ace v EFC

© Provided by Transfer Tavern Aston Villa, Premier League, Tyrone Mings Many Aston Villa fans slammed Tyrone Mings during their Premier League clash with Everton on Saturday afternoon.  Villa travelled ... Read more »

F1 chief has new 'urgent matter' as Lewis Hamilton future remains up in the air

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has another ‘urgent’ issue to deal with, on top of tackling the threat of Lewis Hamilton’s retirement from F1. Ben Sulayem was elected as the ... Read more »

Diese klassischen Auto-Aktien überflügelten den «Highflyer» Tesla

Auch wenn Tesla als Highflyer unter den Auto-Titeln gilt: 2021 haben Anleger mit Titeln vieler traditioneller Autobauer besser verdient. Im vergangenen Oktober war es erstmals so weit: Der Elektroautopionier Tesla hatte an ... Read more »

Francis Ngannou's complicated UFC contract explained amid Tyson Fury call-out

Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane argue over sparring KO See more videos What to watch next Ralf Rangnick discusses future of Jesse Lingard ahead of West Ham fixture Manchester United ... Read more »

Pfister bezeichnet AHV-Reform als zentrale Vorlage

© KEYSTONE/ENNIO LEANZA Mitte-Parteipräsident Gerhard Pfister hat die Delegierten seiner Partei am Samstag auf die seiner Ansicht nach zentralen politischen Themen des Jahres 2022 eingestimmt: Altersvorsorge, Gesundheitskosten und die Beziehungen ... Read more »

Manchester United vs West Ham LIVE: Premier League team news and line-ups as Cristiano Ronaldo doubtful

LIVE – Updated at 14:01 Manchester United are taking on West Ham United at Old Trafford this afternoon as they look to maintain their challenge for a top four place ... Read more »

Ob Stempelsteuer oder Tabak-Werbung: Wie Diskussionen im Internet manipuliert werden

© shutterstock/watson Teaserbild Das Internet fragt uns immer wieder, was wir zu einem Thema denken. Gewisse politische Kreise versuchen aber solche Pseudo-Umfragen zu manipulieren. Es ist schon lange bekannt, dass ... Read more »

Bei den Verkäufen einen Lauf: An der Börse taucht die Schweizer Laufschuhfirma On auf ein Allzeittief

Die Schweizer Laufschuh-Firma On kommt an der Börse aus dem Tritt, legt bei den Verkäufen jedoch zu. © Bereitgestellt von Blick An der Börse taucht die Schweizer Laufschuhfirma On auf ... Read more »

Bronx woman sues shelter after emotional support dog was given away

Denise McCurrie with Roscoe in happier times. handout A Bronx woman is suing the city, the Animal Care Centers, and an unidentified rescue group for wrongly adopting out her beloved ... Read more »

Germany's CDU elects longtime Merkel rival Friedrich Merz as leader

© Hannibal Hanschke, Pool, Reuters Germany’s centre right opposition Christian Democrats on Saturday elected Friedrich Merz, a critic of former Chancellor Angela Merkel, as their new leader by a huge ... Read more »

Teen running Maya Contreras' congressional campaign steps down

Though he’s too young to vote, Theo Demel, 14, was brought on to manage Maya Contreras’ run against Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Twitter/@TheoDemel A woke New York teen who was briefly ... Read more »

The surreal final minute of Didier Drogba's Chelsea career should never be forgotten

Chelsea like to put on a show for their departing legends. You might remember that John Terry’s final game for the Blues was marked in rather unsubtle style when he ... Read more »

Ketogenic diets likely to reduce damage from traumatic brain injury - study

© (photo credit: MAXPIXEL) Ketogenic diets are high in fat from foods such as avocado. Consuming a ketogenic diet may reduce the effects of brain damage in people who have sustained ... Read more »

River Thames has become an ‘open sewer' as treatment plants overwhelmed, report finds

People stand on the banks of the River Thames on a sunny day in London – a report has found the river has become an ‘open sewer’ – NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock ... Read more »

Does Daniel Jeremiah go quarterback for Washington in his 1.0 mock draft?

© Provided by Washington Football Wire The time has come and gone for college players to declare for the 2022 NFL draft. Now, we know all of the players eligible ... Read more »

Ducks Wire reacts: How much is Oregon hurt by Travis Dye move to USC?

© Provided by Trojans Wire On Friday afternoon, former Oregon running back Travis Dye made his decision to transfer. More than the decision to leave, the destination hurt Ducks fans ... Read more »

‘This is a positive’, ‘Strong team on paper’ – Plenty of Reading fans react as team news for Huddersfield Town clash emerges

Reading have made three changes going into this afternoon’s clash with in-form side Huddersfield Town, with Lucas Joao making his first start since the middle of August as he comes ... Read more »

Ben McAdoo's keen eye for quarterbacks could help Panthers

© Provided by Panthers Wire The sudden backlash from Carolina Panthers fans regarding what was the inevitable hiring of Ben McAdoo is somewhat understandable. He’s a not-so-new name with very ... Read more »

2023 quarterback Christopher Vizzina set for Tennessee visit

© Provided by Vols Wire Second-year Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel and his staff continue to recruit future Vols. 2023 quarterback prospect Christopher Vizzina is set to visit Tennessee Saturday. ... Read more »

Pacquiao admits violating traffic rules for work

© Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB Senator Manny Pacquiao at hybrid plenary session at the Senate, June 2, 2021. Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB Presidential aspirant and Senator Manny Pacquiao on Saturday admitted that ... Read more »

Confirmed West Ham team news against Manchester United as David Moyes makes Kurt Zouma decision

West Ham manager David Moyes has made three changes from the Leeds United clash for this afternoon’s Premier League game with Manchester United at Old Trafford. Kurt Zouma and Tomas ... Read more »

Food banks nationwide face staffing, supply shortages

As food banks experience staffing shortages, volunteers step in for MLK Day See more videos What to watch next Brian Laundrie admitted to killing Gabby Petito, FBI says The FBI ... Read more »

Foxes fixed on bouncing back quickly after Spurs shock – Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

© PA Wire Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall says Leicester will bounce back from their Tottenham disappointment (Mike Egerton/PA) – PA Wire Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall insists Leicester can use their late collapse against Tottenham ... Read more »

Daryl Dike handed first West Brom start as Valerien Ismael makes three changes

Daryl Dike is handed his first start in a West Bromwich Albion shirt today as Peterborough United visit The Hawthorns. The US international came off the bench on Saturday at ... Read more »

Our 3 Favorite Hand Warmers Are All On Sale This Weekend – Save 39% Now!

Are you struggling to stay warm during this cold spell? Yeah, us too. Which is why we’re so glad we’ve been testing out hand warmers for our readers here at ... Read more »

Thomas Tuchel's 'tired' Chelsea receives Antonio Conte warning in light of recent form

Lately, Chelsea have had issues keeping the opposition ball out of the net. From having a clean defensive record to conceding 13 goals since December. The majority of these goals ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic