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11 Zero waste Christmas ideas

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On a mission to have a zero waste Christmas?

Want to avoid creating mountains of rubbish that often gets generated at this time of year?

Me too!

Which is why I’ve put together a list of ideas for easy ways to make the Christmas and holiday season less wasteful.


11 Zero waste Christmas ideas

1. Buy pre-loved gifts

Hit the thrift stores, charity shops and vintage/second-hand stores to find interesting and unique gifts that are pre-loved and still have a lot of life in them.

This is one of the most brilliant ways of creating a zero waste Christmas, as you’re potentially also giving money to charity and good causes as you buy.

2. Give an experience

Instead of buying a physical gift, buy the ones you love an experience.

Get them tickets to their favourite band…

What about a one-off experience like a 4 wheel drive day or a trip in a hot air balloon?

Give them vouchers for the cinema or the theatre.

When you think about it, there are SO many experiences you can give.

The bonus is that you will also be helping create wonderful memories… plus there’s a lot less gift wrap needed to wrap an experience!

3. Create homemade gift wrap

Did you realise that a lot of gift wrapping paper is coated in plastic?

Which means it can’t be recycled.

What to do instead?

Super personalise your Christmas gift wrap to each person… and make it more eco-friendly into the bargain.

We’ve got a post full of ideas for creating homemade DIY Christmas gift wrap.

Top things to do for a zero waste Christmas that are eco-friendly and single-use plastic free, include using fabric, using tear sheets from fabulous magazines or old comics, creating your own gift wrap from plain brown paper.

We’ve also got a post on homemade gift tags 

 4. Make your own Christmas cards

I love this one! Not just because of its benefits for a zero waste Christmas.

But because it helps me swerve one of my pet peeves.. buying and writing a tonne of Christmas cards that just go into the rubbish bin a couple of weeks after they’ve been displayed.


Hands up who else dreads writing Christmas cards?

Luckily my friends are getting more and more into the mode of just not sending them.

But of course there’s still a whole bunch of people who you need / want to send a card to each year.

But the thing is, much like gift wrap, there are a lot of cards out there that have some kind of plastic coating on the paper, that mean they are hard to recycle.

We can also end up spending a monumental amount of money on Christmas cards that are displayed for a couple of weeks and then put in the rubbish bin.

So, why not create your own Christmas cards – or better still, set your children a project to create the family Christmas cards for the year!

The cards don’t have to be fancy.

They can be as simple as plain card with something drawn, stamped or painted onto them.

In fact, we’ve got a post on ideas for Christmas cards that kids can make.

 5. Give a gift that keeps on giving

Now, this is like giving an experience idea, only different!

Give the ones you love a gift that they can use time and again to have great experiences.

A membership to a club, what about signing them up to somewhere like The National Trust, where they can have free entry to a whole bunch of amazing places for the year.

Or gift them a course. Craftsy has a whole array of courses that will delight anyone who loves crafting, creating or making.

We are big fans of Craftsy.

We feature some of their free patterns in our super popular Free Baby Clothes Patterns post.


6. Re-gift

Now, you have to be a little careful with this one!

But hands up who has ever received a gift that they will NEVER USE?

A gift that will sit in the back of a cupboard somewhere until it’s decluttered?

Of course, one option is to sell the gift – we’ve got a super popular post on making money from clutter. It lists 8 great ways to make money from selling your clutter.

However, there is another option…


But as I said at the top, you have to be a little careful…

You need to keep a track of who the gift is from, who that person knows and how likely it is that they’ll find out that the gift they lovingly gave you has been re-gifted.


7. Create Christmas gifts

There are two ways you can go with the whole making of gifts for Christmas thing.

One – you can craft Christmas gifts.

Not a natural crafter?

Don’t worry. We’ve got a post on EASY homemade Christmas gifts.

Believe me, I am NOT a crafter, but I can cope with most of these ideas.

The other route to go down is the food route.

Who doesn’t love receiving homemade yummy food at Christmas?

Chutney, biscuits, cake, sauces…


Christmas candy!!!

And guess what, we’ve got a post on how to make the most delicious homemade Christmas candy. All of it is super easy and super yum.

Because I might (might) have a sweet tooth, there’s also a much-loved post on that finest of Christmas candy… peppermint candy.


We’ve got a post on Crockpot slowcooker Christmas candy.


8. Secret Santa

This one isn’t really for children.

But it’s a great way of reducing the overall Christmas gift haul for adults who will be spending Christmas together.

Set a budget, pop everyone’s name in a hat and divide up the gift buying.

You can go one step further and set a theme – single-use plastic-free would be a nice eco-festive one!!


9. Homemade Christmas decorations

Yes, there are a LOT of homemade ideas on this zero waste ideas list!

But they don’t have to take up massive amounts of brain bandwidth or soak up loads of your time.

Especially if you take a peek at our homemade Christmas decoration posts for inspiration.

Because all the ideas are super easy to make.

The added bonus of making Christmas decorations – or getting your kids to make them – as that you are creating family heirlooms.

Heirlooms you can bring out every Christmas and get a little more nostalgic over as each year goes by.

So what are the other benefits of making your own decorations?

Because this way you can re-use stuff you have around the house – upcycle, recycle…

You can make sure to use things from nature, things that are eco-friendly and things that aren’t plastic to make your decorations.

So, here are the posts I mentioned… have a peak and decide which decorations you are going to make…

Homemade Christmas decorations

Mason Jar Christmas decorations


10. Meal plan

It is SO easy to overspend and overbuy at Christmas.

Particularly when it comes to food.

So, take some time to really plan before you buy.

Not used to meal planning?

We’ve got a post on easy meal planning. It’s not specifically for Christmas, but it will get you in the swing of things.

I’ve also got a tip to share.

I was told this by a friend just before we had 16 for Christmas lunch.

She told me… the more people you have to cater for, the less food you will need per person.


Because everyone is so focused on being sociable and the energy of a room full of people, that they are less focused on filling their faces.

I tried it… and it is certainly true.

So work out how many people you are catering for and plan accordingly.


11. Green light

Now, this is a stealth zero waste Christmas idea.

Love having Christmas lights decorating the outside of your home?

Go for solar-powered lights.

Got a house festooned in Christmas lights and a tree covered in them as well?

Make sure to switch them off whenever you leave the house or the room and certainly at night.

So there you have it. A bunch of ideas for a zero waste Christmas. Ideas that will set you on the path to creating a zero waste Christmas that is eco-friendly and as free as possible from single-use plastic.


More zero waste

Want more on zero waste and reducing your single-use plastic use?

Read these popular posts…

Plastic free living tips – 7 single use plastics to ditch now

6 Easy ways to reduce YOUR plastic footprint

9 Zero Waste Bathroom Single-Use Plastic Swaps

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