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A sustainable Christmas: Decorations and wrapping

Published 1 December 2021

Making our homes look and feel festive in the run up to Christmas is a big part of the celebrations.

However, in the UK, 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away each year and instead of being recycled, a billion Christmas cards are put in the bin.

If you haven’t already decorated or wrapped all your gifts this year, we have pulled together some tips for making this festive season more sustainable. Little changes really can make a big difference to your budget, the environment, and the enjoyment of the day.

Take a look at some great ideas on how to save on waste, save some money, and reduce your impact on the environment in the process.

Ditch the chocolate

We’re all used to chocolate-filled advent calendars, but these can be difficult to recycle, so often end up in general waste and landfill. You could make or buy your own reusable advent calendar, and get creative with the kids. You can fill the calendar with stickers, treats, Lego pieces and much more, minimising packing and making every day more exciting.

Greenery offcuts

Offcuts of Christmas trees, holly, mistletoe, and other Christmas greenery can look beautiful and festive, without the expense of buying a ready-made wreath. Why not go for a walk in your local area and see what nature has to offer that will look great on your door.  Make sure you’re not taking greenery from private land or damaging the natural environment.

DIY crackers

Get creative by making homemade Christmas crackers, that way you can decide on the gifts. Some retailers will be selling recyclable crackers with paper gifts inside, which is a great alternative if you don’t feel like making your own.

Real or fake – the big debate

A real Christmas tree can smell and look fabulous, but an artificial one can look just as effective without needing to find a new one every year. If you’re don’t know which is a more ‘eco-friendly’ option, the Carbon Trust has some information to help you decide.

Wrapping paper ends

Get the kids involved and make Christmas paper paperchains with all the bits of wrapping paper that are left over. Try to buy recyclable paper so it can be put in the recycling at the end of the festive period. If you aren’t sure whether your wrapping paper is recyclable or not, try the ‘scrunch test’.

Brown paper

Use brown paper and string or ribbon to wrap gifts. You can decorate the paper with drawings, water-based ink stamps from a craft shop, or get the kids involved with water-based paints and hand or finger painting, or potato prints with Christmas shapes.

Last year’s Christmas cards

Save Christmas cards and cutting out the pictures to use for gift tags, wrapping or decorations next year.

Reuse giftbags

Reuse giftbags and wrapping paper if in good condition, you can save money ahead of next year and save time on having to go shopping for new ones.

Avoid glitter

Try and avoid using glitter if you can, it might look sparkly and festive, but it can stop paper and other materials from being recycled. You can use edible glitter or other decorations instead.

For more ideas on how to save money at Christmas, or to learn more about living more sustainably contact our Sustainability team at sustainabilityteam@wdh.co.uk.

For information on how to manage your money, contact the Cash Wise team on 01977 724651 or visit the Cash Wise website www.getcashwise.co.uk, email cashwise@wdh.co.uk, visit the Facebook page @getcashwise or Instagram page @getcashwise.

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