Have A Very Merry Sustainable Christmas

Have A Very Merry Sustainable Christmas
For many, Christmas is a time for splendour and splurging and the party season can be an excuse to shop 'til we drop, filling our bags with everything from food and festive decorations to toys and pine trees.
More and more however, attitudes towards consumption are changing and people are exploring sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives throughout this period of overindulgence. For festive aficionados, wanting to do their bit for our planet, here are our tips for a very merry, sustainable, Christmas.
Greener gifts
Alongside the delicious feast, unwrapping presents on a cold winter's morning is an exciting moment on Christmas Day. Whether gathered around the tree or huddles in front of the fire, seeing the joy on your loved one's face as they tear open their gift is a priceless memory we all cherish. That experience could still be the same with homemade, sustainable or eco-friendly presents.
Gifts that you've had handcrafted such as pompom bunting, knitted hats, scarves or gloves, are a sweet yet cost-effective present that can be easily created while enjoying some festive films in the lead up to Christmas. There's no need to be an expert either, as you can easily hop on YouTube to find a tutorial to guide you through.
Even if you're not the crafty type, it's important to think carefully about what materials you're buying and where you're buying them from. Recycled textiles or organic cotton are ideal for making your own gifts, but when purchasing ready-made presents like throws or pillows, take a look at the item's tag for extra information. You'll find some perfect eco-friendly gifts on sites like Etsy and best of all, purchasing from somewhere like this means you're supporting small businesses and craftspeople - look out for your local Christmas markets too for some truly unique finds that will help those independent traders near you. 
Re-think your wrap
A quiet evening at home wrapping presents is a wonderful way to spend a winter weekend. With a mulled wine in one hand and some festive music playing in the background, you can while away the hours wrapping the gifts you've collected over the Christmas build-up. 
A lot of attention can go into wrapping, with some presents adorned with oversized ribbons, stickers and tinsel but did you know that shiny wrapping paper can't be recycled? Instead, opt for brown paper or used newspapers tied together with brown ribbon. This eco-friendly way to wrap will give your gifts a natural and authentic style, mimicking a traditional Christmas look. You could even attach some dried orange slices or cinnamon sticks on top of the parcels to still ensure your gifts are decorative. 
Twinkling lights
Over the Christmas period, our homes can look like Santa's Grotto, with lights twinkling in every corner of the room. But during this busy time it can be easy to forget to switch them off, leaving them on throughout the night and while we're away at work, which can waste a lot of electricity. 
Opting for LED Christmas lights uses less energy ans they're far more durable and long-lasting than incandescent lights too. They also don't burn out and don't get as hot, so they're a lot safer for our homes. 
Festive leaftover feast
With so many family gatherings and visits from friends and neighbours, it can be hard to do anything but eat; continually dishing out cheese boards, trifles and mince pies aplenty. For a long time, Christmas has been a period of over-eating, with millions of Brits throwing away an estimated 270,000 tonnes of food waste each year - that's two million turkeys, five million Christmas puddings and over 74 million mince pies. 
Instead of throwing away the food that gets left behind, whip up some delicious leftovers - everything from roast beef or turkey curries to trifles made of crumbled mince pies can be enjoyed from your Christmas dinner over spill. For unopened store-cupboard items you bought for the festive season, including canned fruits, why not box them up and take them to your nearest food bank?
Do you have any sustainable Christmas tips? Share them with us on our Twitter.