Blog: How to have an eco-friendly Christmas

Written by Student Content Shaper Alice James

Hi everyone! I’m Alice, a Digital Media and Communications student at UoB.  

With the Halloween decorations back in their boxes, and the Christmas markets in Birmingham up and running, my Christmas spirit is kicking in. But when it comes to presents, food and decorations, I think we can all agree that we feel pressured to go a little overboard. Luckily for us, there are plenty of small adjustments we can make to reduce the impact that Christmas has on our planet and our wallets.

Skip the one-time uses 

As Christmas starts to take over, the festive drinks on campus can be pretty irresistible. From Costa to Starbucks, it can be hard to resist their cute, Christmassy cups, and a warm drink whilst walking in the cold to your lecture or seminar is very tempting.

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But instead, why not invest in a reusable (and equally cute!) coffee cup to enjoy those delicious gingerbread lattes? Not only is it more eco-friendly, but you may just find that you save money as many coffee shops on campus offer discounts to those using reusable cups!  

Ditch the damaging decorations  

Christmas trees are a must but buying a new one every year isn’t particularly environmentally friendly, plus you can save costs by not buying a new one each year. 

Purchasing a potted Christmas tree is a great idea (bonus points if you buy it locally) and you can even decorate it with LED lights for energy efficiency and to save on those rising energy costs.

Ditch the plastic wreath too and DIY your own using holly branches, ivy and berries. There’s a great tutorial on YouTube here: Crepe Paper Holly Branch Tutorial �� Craftmas - YouTube 

Get creative with the wrapping 

Wrapping can sometimes feel like a chore so take this opportunity to get your creative hat on! 

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Instead of using regular wrapping paper which tends to be non-recyclable, try using brown paper for a vintage look. I rummage around for my dad’s old newspapers which can be great fun to wrap with, particularly if you find a weird heading. You can even cut out the wrapping entirely and reuse gift bags. If you’ve got any Christmas cards lying around from last year, why not make your own gift tags instead of buying new ones? 

Put a bit of extra thought into your Christmas meal  

Christmas isn’t complete without a traditional Christmas dinner but it’s easy to go overboard, especially with all of the yummy adverts you see on TV!  

If you find you’ve made too much, reduce waste by storing the leftovers and making Christmas dinner pie (a personal favourite in my house)! Eating seasonal veggies is also great – think parsnips, brussels sprouts (if you like them), carrots, and potatoes.  

To reduce the impact of meat on our planet, try some meat alternatives for your pigs in blankets and stuffing (and even your turkey if you’re feeling brave!). They’re just as delicious! 

Be everyone’s favourite gift-giver  

Everyone feels that pressure when it comes to Christmas and gift-giving. While you can shop for gifts, DIY Christmas gifts are extra meaningful – not to mention easier on your budget. 

Baked goods are a wonderful alternative if you want to test out your Mary Berry baking skills. From homemade Mince pies, to gingerbread cookies and more, there are tons of seasonal treats that make good gifts. 

Handmade presents are also brilliant if you’re feeling inspired; gifting photos in hand-decorated picture frames is one of my go-to's but you could also make a candle, crochet a blanket, or make your own plant terrarium! If that all sounds like too much effort, think about gifting an experience. Wine tasting, theatre tickets, puppy yoga…you name it! There are tons of deals happening on sites like Wowcher

I hope these helped you think about ways you could make your Christmas that extra bit sustainable. Without sounding too cliché, try to remember the true meaning of Christmas. You can still have a blast, enjoy time with your loved ones and more whilst being mindful of the environment and your pockets. Merry Christmas! 

Can you feel the Christmas spirit yet? You can join us in getting ready for our official Countdown to Christmas by taking part in our Christmas festivities happening on campus.


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