12 Ways of Christmas


12 ways to  Christmas

Our Christmas footprint is not just what is left in the snow! It depends on how much we buy, waste and travel. If we try and do one more than usual we can make Christmas more sustainable, memorable and cost effective.

  1. Advent – Remember just good old cardboard calendars, were you a parent that carefully shuts the doors and brings it out the following year? Find a fellow recycler and swap calendars so the kids don’t sus you. Still like to have a bit of cheeky chocolate before breakfast? Do you have lots of odd socks, number them 1-25 and pop in a Fairtrade chocolate. Or if you are handy with a needle you could make a reusable calendar (which my adult kids still insist on using!). Instead of chocolates fill it with a different activity each day – read a Christmas story/ walk to see the Xmas lights/ star in your nativity, or tree decorations and let them add one to the tree each day. More grown up – make promises to each other! Online animated calendars for family far away can be found here https://www.jacquielawson.com/advent for daily surprises, games and stories.
  2. Decorating – Leave the glitter to the Strictly Ballroom, eco – glitter is available but it is still not wildlife friendly! If you have glittery baubles, reuse- reuse- reuse. Try to use natural materials and reuse what you already have – or indeed swap with friends and family, alternatively use online sites to find preloved deco. Making your own is great fun for the whole family no matter their age.

3.Trees – Local collections of real trees by St.Andrew’s Nuthurst PTA on the 7th of January, check their Facebook for details if not they can be recycled at the local tip. Grow your own or rent a tree, or buy a fresh cut tree, they can all be chipped if they don’t survive your care and if you have an artificial tree – reuse forever.

  1. Christmas cards/celebration card – avoid glitter, it contaminates recycling and contains micro plastics that will enter the environment and our water system. Buy cards that benefit charities, or send e-cards and donate what you would have spent to your favourite charity. Phone round your Xmas card list – what a lovely surprise! Rather than sending cards to everyone in your class or workplace, send one card to the whole class or workplace.
  2. Lighting – when your fairy lights need replacing make sure they are halogen or LED as they use less energy. Use a timer or smart plug so they are not left on accidentally or if they are outdoor lights get solar lights. Your old lights if not repairable they can be recycled in WEEE bins at our local recycling plant or book a collection https://www.horsham.gov.uk/waste-recycling-and-bins
  3. Buying Gifts – Think- ethical (sustainable, plastic free etc). Think- local (make a small business owner’s day). Think pre-loved (search charity shops or online). Think make-it (personal touch). Think- buy less (be up front the economic climate is not easy, suggest a Secret Santa and set a price cap, rather than buy for everyone) or give experiences/days out.


  1. Wrapping – make sure it’s recyclable (if it is scrunchable). Brown paper looks fab, add some twine and a pine cone or piece of holly. Use last year’s cards for gift tags.

Maybe you have some seasonal fabric and you fancy a go at Furoshiki – .Reusable wrapping cloths – no cellotape required!

  1. Wearing – It is OK to wear last years. If you have outgrown yours or need a change St.Andrew’s Primary School have a Christmas jumper swap. Check out the charity shops in November or online pre-loved options. Suggest a jumper swap at you place of work!
  2. Crackers – Plastic Free Reusable Crackers, make it a tradition to write your own jokes, or facts or a fun challenge each year! If you are fans of the Christmas hat, make it a Xmas day challenge to bring a hat or make one out of a sheet of newspaper.


  1. Eating & Drinking – 66% admit to buying too much food and drink and probably about the same admit to eating too much food and drink and there are still left overs. Don’t buy Xmas food just because its Xmas if you know no one will eat it. As boring as it may sound, planning food for the festive period is the most cost effective. If you have a bag of spuds that need using before Xmas, roast them off and freeze them and then heat them through on Xmas day. Plan what to do with your left overs. Check out what you can freeze here https://www.thefullfreezer.com/ Buy local and in season.


  1. Activities – enjoy playing games, treasure hunts, woodland rambles, film nights (make some treats), read a book in the bath, put on a play, go to a local theatre or nativity play.


  1. Recycling over the festive period – https://www.recyclenow.com/news-and-campaigns/recycle-right-this-christmas