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How to have a sustainable Christmas

Sustainable lifestyle consultant Green Salon gave us some tips on how to have a stylish green Christmas without the faff

Tis the season to be merry, and the last thing anyone wants is to add another thing to the pre-Christmas to-do list. But what if we told you a green Christmas can be even more magical and potentially more relaxing? Don’t believe us? Read on for some tips on spreading the Christmas love to family, friends - and the planet too.

Rent a real Christmas tree

Who doesn’t love that scent of pine that trails into the house with the Christmas tree each year with its promise of tantalisingly wrapped presents, festive banquets, squealing children and Santa? For those who’ve eschewed plastic Christmas trees on the basis that they don’t feel very Christmassey, the Carbon Trust has good news: real Christmas trees have a smaller carbon footprint than plastic ones. So head out and bag yourself a real live Christmas tree.

A real live tree? Yup, you read that correctly: renting Christmas trees is now a real thing. Not only does it ensure that that evocative scent of pine lasts throughout the Christmas season, but renting a tree also makes a dent in the 7 million Christmas trees that end up in landfill each year. You can even name your tree to ensure you get the same one again the next year.

Christmas baubles by Nkuku

How about the decorations?

Some people go all Martha Stewart at Christmas, and create their own stunning decorations with greenery and orange peel. It can be a lovely meditative thing to do but if that’s your idea of a Christmas nightmare, then the most sustainable Christmas decorations are the ones you already own. Those boxes of decades old tinsel and Christmas baubles from yesteryear are the pinnacle of zero waste.

If you are after eco-friendly Christmas decorations, one of Green Salon’s favourite sites is Nkuku*. Nkuku works only with natural and recycled materials, like the recycled glass it uses for its baubles, and focuses on traditional handmade, artisanal methods of production from handloom weaving to metal sculpting and traditional pottery. Their decorations are about as far from mass produced as it’s possible to go.

Kate Sproston Design’s Scandi-inspired reusable crackers

Throwing away crackers is, well, crackers

We’ve been pulling them since the 1840s, and Christmas, frankly, wouldn’t be Christmas without them. But it’s estimated that over 40 million crackers end up in the bin on Christmas Day adding to the festive waste mountain. Now you no longer need to buy cheap and cheerful throw-away crackers, you can invest in some stunning reusable crackers that can add to the family Christmas heirlooms.

Green Salon loves Kate Sproston Design’s pretty Scandi crackers. Wearth has a gorgeous range of reusable and eco-friendly Christmas crackers, which even double up as napkins. Simply “pull the cracker” and unroll your napkin ready for your Christmas dinner.

Getting it all wrapped up

Who doesn’t love a Christmas present? Certainly we do. But with gifts comes wrapping, and each Christmas in the UK around 108 million rolls of wrapping paper end up in the bin. So rather than buying wrapping paper to have it thrown away, here are some creative solutions. The Japanese art of Furoshiki means wrapping gifts in fabric. You don’t have to tie yourself in knots on the correct way to tie Furoshiki, you can simply find some pretty fabric you no longer use and use it to wrap around your presents.

If you don’t have any left-over fabrics, Aspiga* sells gift bags from their cast-off fabrics, that you can use, and use and reuse as they get gifted from person to person. And if Christmas just isn’t Christmas without gift wrapping, how about using recycled paper? Re-Wrapped do gorgeous 100% recycled wrapping paper.

The Ethical Silk Company has the chicest silk PJs around

Giving gorgeous green gifts

No one wants to come over as the Grinch at Christmas, so how do we give gifts without adding to the mountain of stuff that most of us have already? Among millennials, the gift of an experience is often top of their wish list. Who wants a pair of socks when they could get a day at a spa? So how about thinking theatre tickets, a cookery course or, yes, that day at the spa?

Handmade presents are having a real renaissance. What more lovely gesture than pouring over the stove making home-made chutney to give to friends and family? But if time is of the essence, there are some fantastic sustainable options. Vestiaire Collective* sell top notch vintage designer clothes, shoes, jewellery and bags. We love Elvis & Kresse’s* incredible bags made from Burberry leather offcuts, parachute silk and repurposed firehose. Their briefcases and weekend bags are perfect for the man in your life. Or BEEN London* who make bags from leather made from pineapple and apple skins.

Aspiga* have some fun jewellery and accessories and if you’re after gorgeous lingerie, Luva Huva create stunning lingerie from recycled lace and the softest bamboo fabric. For the chicest silk pyjamas in town, check out The Ethical Silk Company.

And if you’d rather someone had done the work of selecting all the most gorgeous, green gifts out there, you’re in luck. We’ve put together a guide to Christmas gifts from our stylish partner brands that our team have greenwash- filtered to make sure they’re as green as they say they are.

Piper’s Farm turkey was voted Best Christmas Turkey by Good Housekeeping

And, finally, the Christmas feast

Let’s face it, Christmas is largely an excuse for a blow-out feast - at least it is in our house. In many ways, that sounds like the opposite of sustainability and, frankly, if we ate that much everyday it wouldn’t lead to a sustainable waist-band size. But it’s perfectly possible to eat till you pop on Christmas day in a sustainable way.

Unfortunately, supermarket food is all too often wrapped in layers of plastic. So, if you can, head for your local butchers, greengrocers or farmers market to source your Christmas turkey and trimmings. If you think locally, seasonally and, if you can afford it, organically, then not only are you doing the planet a favour, you’re also doing your tastebuds a favour too.

At Green Salon, we’re huge fans of Pipers Farm* whose free-range bronze turkey has just been awarded Best Christmas Turkey by Good Housekeeping, and if you’re thinking of giving food as gifts this year, their cheese boxes are the ultimate Christmas foodie treat.

And, of course, when considering a wine to serve with the Christmas dinner, we always recommend BIB wine, for a sustainable twist on delicious wines - and the best part is that they’re not just for Christmas!

Check out our Green Salon Directory and the Gorgeous Green Christmas Gift Guide for more Christmas gift ideas from stylish, truly sustainable companies that are doing their best to make you and the planet happy!

Affiliate disclaimer: * denotes Green Salon has an affiliate link with this brand. This does not affect the price you pay. Green Salon only partners with brands that score over 75% on its sustainability criteria. See the methodology here.

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