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22 November 2023

5 tips for a more sustainable Christmas

We love Christmas – the decorations, the hunt for gifts, and all the tasty feasting!

We love Christmas – the decorations, the hunt for gifts, and all the tasty feasting! But, with reported costs of £26 million to dispose of all the UK’s Christmas waste1, we wanted to highlight some changes you could make without losing that festive feeling.

Here are our five tips to be more conscious of the environment, kinder on your wallet, and support your local hospice too.

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1. Make tree-rific choices!

Everyone has their opinion about what type of tree is best, but whether you prefer artificial or real, there are ways to make sure your choice is as eco-friendly as possible.

Research shows that when used for over seven years2, artificial trees can be more sustainable than buying a fresh one each year! That means hanging on to your existing one, or, if you need a tree, taking a trip to your local charity shop. Many of our shops have a stock of artificial trees in various sizes and colours ready for the holiday season.

For real tree fans, ensuring that your lovely-smelling tree is recycled properly after Christmas is essential for sustainability, as it can reduce its carbon footprint by up to 80%3! Cut it up and compost it at home or take advantage of tree collection schemes in your area. St Michael’s Hospice Hereford run a tree collection scheme that is available to book now.

2. Think about your decoration decisions

Whether your style is bold and bright or sparkly and sophisticated, getting the decorations out is a huge part of Christmas. But with the average household spending £185 on decorations each year4, it might be time to look beyond brand-new and seek out pre-loved instead.

A visit to your local charity shop can provide a treasure trove of festive bargains. From stocking hangers to vintage baubles, you can find gorgeous items that are looking for a new home, without the large price tags. What’s more, by shopping second-hand, you’ll be helping keep these great items out of landfill.

You could even turn hunting for pre-loved decorations into a new Christmas tradition! Challenge family members to find a special second-hand bauble each year and watch as your unique tree decoration collection grows.

3. Wrap responsibly

When it comes to wrapping your gifts, there are lots of sustainable options out there. In addition to sourcing new recyclable or recycled papers, you can save money (and do your bit for the environment) by visiting your local charity shop and browsing for pre-loved wrapping essentials.

For traditional gift wrappers, most charity shops stock an array of wrapping paper rolls, gift bags and boxes donated from previous Christmases, providing a cost-effective alternative to buying new.

For adventurous gift-givers looking to get creative with their wrapping this year, there’s so much fun to be had scouring shops for items to transform into gift wrap. Search for scarves, yarn, and old pillowcases to repurpose, or pick up vintage baskets and containers for gift baskets. We couldn’t fit all our sustainable gift-wrapping tips here, so head over to our gift-wrapping blog for more inspiration.

4. Think outside the (gift) box!

It really is the thought that counts and thinking about how you gift as well as what you gift, can help reduce the impact on the environment and save you some money too!

Charity shops and online resellers, such as eBay or Vinted, are great places to find fantastic gifts for friends and family. From toys and games to stylish clothing and homeware, you can bag a bargain without buying brand new. With pre-loved finds, there is also great potential to add your own unique touch through up-cycling or customising.

To reduce the number of gifts you’re buying (and money you’re spending), setting up a Secret Santa between family or friends can be a great way to reduce the impact on the environment that comes from purchasing new items or receiving unwanted presents. Using apps, such as Draw Names, make the process even easier, with the ability to invite people, set budgets and write wish lists.

5. Donate don’t dump!

If there’s only one change you remember to make this year, this is the one we think is most important!

Whether it’s lightly used wrapping paper rolls, last year’s decorations, or unwanted Christmas gifts, by donating your items rather than throwing them away, you will not only be giving items a new lease of life but will help tackle the amount of festive waste that sadly ends up in landfill.

With 12,500 tonnes of Christmas decorations reported to be discarded in landfill, including a whopping 68,488 miles of Christmas lights5, making the decision to donate your unwanted but still good quality items is a great step towards being more sustainable this Christmas.

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