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11 ZERO WASTE CHRISTMAS IDEAS FROM GIFTS AND GIFT WRAP TO FOOD AND DECORATIONS
Are you on a mission to have a zero waste Christmas? Do you want to avoid creating the mountains of rubbish that often get generated at this time of year?
This 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.
GREAT PLACES TO BUY PRELOVED GIFTS:
- Etsy – has an array of vintage and upcycled pieces amidst its craft offerings
- Depop – much-loved by GenZ for clothes and accessories
- Vestiare – the grown-up, haute version of Depop for the kinds of designer items featured on the pages of Vogue and Elle.
- Preloved – The UK’s fastest-growing website where you can instantly buy pre-owned items online without any bidding
- MusicMagpie – Great for tech bits like mobiles, games consoles and other devices
- Shpock – Similar to Preloved, the Shpock app connects buyers and sellers across many categories like fashion, electronics, toys and sports equipment.
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!
Related: Experience gift ideas for teens
3. MAKE YOUR OWN 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.
I’ve got a post full of ideas for creating homemade DIY Christmas gift wrap.
Try things like using fabric, tear sheets from glossy magazines, old comics or creating your own pattern on plain brown paper.
4. MAKE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS CARDS
Much like gift-wrap, lots of Christmas cards have some kind of plastic coating on them, which means they are hard or impossible to recycle.
It’s also very easy to spend an eye-watering amount of money on Christmas cards (not to mention the cost of posting them!).
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! Take a look at my roundup of some of the loveliest ideas for Christmas cards for kids to make.
The cards don’t have to be fancy, especially if you don’t have hours of time to sit and create them.
They can be as simple as plain card with something drawn, stamped or painted onto them.
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.
Perhaps it’s a membership to a club or gym. Or, 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. Masterclass has a whole array of courses that will delight anyone who loves crafting, making or upskilling their creativity.
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. I’ve got a super popular post on making money from 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. MAKE YOUR OWN 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…
OR BEST OF ALL
Related: 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. MAKE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS DECORTATIONS
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 my homemade Christmas decorations 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.
Related: DIY 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 to ensure that you minimise food waste over the festive period.
Not used to meal planning?
I’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. The BBC has a very useful Christmas portion planner.
11. GREEN LIGHT
Now, this is a stealth zero waste Christmas idea.
Do you love having Christmas lights decorating the outside of your home, but worry about the environmental impact?
The answer is to go for solar-powered lights.
Another zero waste tip is to make sure to switch all the Christmas lights off whenever you leave the house or a room and certainly switch them off over night.
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Hello, I’m Luci, founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, I have combined my experience as a mum, journalist and shopping editor to create useful guides and lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Plus I create beautiful party printables, from invites to party games. Read more.