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December is here – the countdown to Christmas is on! Here are 25 ways you can have an ethical Christmas and be kind to the planet (and your wallet):

Activities & festivities!

  • Check online for free local events – you might be surprised by the festivities you find right round the corner. Save on travel across town by going local.
  • Host a party that's free from single-use plastic and get your friends and family in on the challenge. 
  • You might not be able to book a sleigh ride, but if you’re travelling over Christmas, why not go by train?
  • Get some friends together for a Christmas craft evening, using only items you are upcycling or recycling. 
  • Time to refresh your wardrobe? How about holding a Christmas clothes swap to find a new festive outfit?

Deck the halls

  • Make recycled bunting made from old magazine, cards, books and fliers. This is great for getting young ones involved.
  • Make your own wreath out of old fabric or foliage from the garden.
  • Did you know that you can rent a Christmas tree from some garden centres and plant nurseries? Often they’ll even deliver and collect the tree, and it can carry on growing it after it’s returned.
  • Share some festive cheer by decorating your house with solar lights.
  • Rather than buying new ones, why not make your own tree decorations?

Christmas Tree with small red decoration (Markus Spiske via Unsplash)

Give good gifts

  • Go waste-free by gifting someone an experience they’ll love. Cooking classes? Golf lessons? Tickets to a show? 
  • Give a fair trade gift: check out these Traidcraft Christmas gift ideas for 2019
  • Get crafty and upcycle some old, unused or tired items into a one-of-a-kind gift. 
  • Forage in your local charity shops for second-hand gift inspiration and decorations.
  • How about a waste-reducing gift that keeps on giving? You could give a reusable cup or bottle, or buy someone a shampoo bar to introduce them to the joys of plastic-free toiletries. 

Food, glorious food

  • As always, try to buy loose vegetables and buy ingredients from bulk bins, to avoid plastic packaging. Take containers or reusable fabric bags with you to start your food plans with a waste-reducing win!
  • If you’re going away for the holidays, clear out the fridge first by holding a food-waste Christmas feast. 
  • Unleash your inner Masterchef by using up your Christmas leftovers in one of these leftover recipes.
  • Have yourself a veggie little Christmas by swapping your meat for butternut squash wellington or a nut roast.
  • Why not try making your own edible gifts, like some gingerbread treats?

Christmas cookies in the shape of stars (Lydia Matzal via Unsplash)

That’s a wrap...

  • Sellotape and wrapping paper often can’t be recycled, so why not wrap up your gifts in recycled/recyclable wrapping paper? 
  • Make your own Christmas cards using recycled paper to cut back on paper waste. Or embrace technology and send a digital e-card. 
  • Don’t forget to take your reusable shopping bags for any last-minute dashes to the supermarket.
  • Why not take some technology-free time today reflecting and praying to get ready to celebrate Jesus, the reason for the season?
  • Finally, remember to rest and enjoy the day. Have a very merry Christmas! 
Kiran Rai

Kiran is part of the Tearfund Action team, and likes to spend his spare time playing guitar or board games.