My sustainable Christmas guide

I can’t believe it’s already December! Christmas is around the corner but is it the most wonderful time or is it peak consumerism? According to the SEI, the festive season results in as much as 650kg of C02 emissions per person. It doesn’t have to be that way! From the gifts you buy to the tree you pick, every choice you make can make a huge difference. Let’s have a look at 7 ways to have a sustainable Christmas without skimping on the magic.

Choose your Christmas Tree wisely

Is Christmas even really Christmas without a tree? Every year, the debate about choosing a real tree vs a fake one returns and the answer seems to change all the time. Truth is it depends. For instance, I live in Scandinavia so there are spruce trees growing literally everywhere. They don’t get sprayed with pesticides, which makes them a sustainable option… except I don’t see a point in cutting down an actual tree for decoration purposes. Besides, I find it’s a hassle to clean up the needles that fall off. Instead, I prefer making a zero waste tree (check them out here and here btw). Other options include renting a potted Christmas tree, decorating a houseplant or branches but say you already have an artificial tree, just keep using it (it takes 20 years to offset 1 plastic tree). The most sustainable option is always what you already have.

Have Sustainable Christmas decor

I can’t talk about Christmas trees without talking about ornaments and decor. Let’s be honest for a second, there’s a lot of plastic going on and it can get real tacky, real quick. First things first, you don’t need to buy new ones all the time. Like, in my family, we have been using the same ornaments since before I was even born and today, they give this lovely vintage vibe. I love it. But if you don’t own any, you can easily thrift them or even better, make your own using natural or reclaimed materials. Think pine cones, dried fruit, acorns but also paper scraps, cardboard or yarn…

Swap your candles

Candles are a central part of Christmas traditions but did you know that most candles are made from paraffin wax? Paraffin is derived from petroleum, isn’t biodegradable and releases harmful pollutants as the candle burns. Instead choose soy or coconut wax candles. They don’t contain harmful substances, come from renewable sources and the wax is biodegradable.

Serve a plant based Christmas dinner

The environmental impact of animal products is no longer a secret and switching to a plant based diet is one of the best things we can do for the environment, especially in a time where we tend to overindulge. Besides, Christmas is about kindness so why not leave the homies off your plate? So many tasty festive vegan recipes are just one click away (like here) and the cherry on top is that your dinner will be easier to digest. Post xmas food coma no more!

Give sustainable Christmas presents

Every situation is different so there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to gifts. However, you can’t go wrong is you focus on quality over quantity. Most of my friend who have kids have decided to let their children pick ONE present. When planning Christmas parties, we organize a secret Santa so everyone gets a cool thoughtful present instead of a pile of useless junk. Bonus points if they’re handmade gifts or experiences. I actually wrote this guide a while back, with simple DIY gifts you can prepare in advance. And by the way, second hand Christmas presents are acceptable too.

Wrap them sustainably too

Speaking of presents, be mindful of how you wrap them. I get that we wrap gifts to create a bit of a surprise but if you think about it, how dumb is it to actually spend money on pretty paper only to tear it apart and throw it away. I mean, reusing wrapping paper is perfectly acceptable but you can only do it so many times. My favorite alternative is to use and reuse gift bags, which are very common in Norway but I’ve seen people use newspaper, old maps and fabric to wrap Christmas presents.

Thrift your sustainable Christmas outfit

Not just a Christmas tip by the way. Shopping second hand is always a good idea. It doesn’t matter if you are dress up kind of person or ugly sweater kind of person, you can thrift both. But let’s be honest, do we even really need a new outfit every year? Outfit repeating is cool. And if you really don’t have anything to wear, it’s super easy to create festive looks with good basics and the right accessories.

That’s it for the susty xmas tips but overall, keep in mind that nothing is more important than enjoying your time together… or alone. Because it’s also OK to choose not to celebrate or keep the celebrations low-key.