WWF sustainable Christmas

Christmas presents wrapped with fabric by Steve Cukrov Photography / Creative Market

30+ tips for a plastic free Christmas

11 Dec 2020

  • Christmas
  • footprint
  • sustainable living

The fairy lights are up, but does Christmas feel a little different this year? Overseas travel is off-limits, family get-togethers are over Zoom and silly season shenanigans come with a 1.5 metre-rule. So perhaps it’s the perfect moment to reflect on what we can do to make this Christmas a special and sustainable celebration!

Christmas is often a time of excess and over-consumption, with plastic and single-use packaging at the centre of festivities – clogging our oceans and killing our marine wildlife.  

But there is  a way to be swept away by all the pretty lights and  be environmentally friendly at the same time.


Here are some essential Christmas items that you can swap for sustainable and plastic free options! It’s time to have a truly green  Christmas.




Decking the halls sustainably

Sustainable Christmas decorations flat lay © WWF-Aus / Stef Mercurio

Having an eco-friendly festive season doesn’t mean you have to skip out on all the fun Christmas decorations! There are many ways you can dress up the Christmas tree and deck the halls sustainably, and still have beautiful lights and ornaments.

Christmas tree

Adopt a koala

• Decorate an indoor plant

Create your own tree using things around the house

Buy a real tree instead of a plastic tree - it’s the most eco-friendly option

Lights and decorations

Design your own wreath using native greenery or edible herbs

Buy ethical and fairtrade decorations from stores like Uplift Fair Trade

Use solar powered lights or switch to LED lighting

Light soy candles that have been produced locally

Have a go at your own DIY Christmas crafts


Wrapping gifts thoughtfully

Christmas gifts sustainable wrapping © WWF-Aus / Stef Mercurio

It can be hard trying to find the perfect gift for a loved one at Christmas … and even harder to find environmentally friendly gifts at that! But sometimes the most thoughtful gifts are the simplest.


• Symbolically adopt an animal for a loved one - choose from nine iconic species.
• The perfect pressie for the eco-warrior in your life - as a thank you for joining WWF-Australia as a monthly giver we'll send you a gift pack which includes a KeepCup, stainless-steel straw pack & reusable tote bag.

• Give the gift of an experience rather than a thing

Shop for ethical, recycled and sustainable presents

 Avoid buying plastic toys and instead choose eco-friendly toys

Cards and wrapping

Send an e-card using PaperlessPost or a WWF Wildcard

Look for greeting cards with the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label

Re-use old wrapping paper, recycled paper, newspapers, magazines and fabrics

Give your gift in a boomerang bag

Use brown paper tape instead of cellotape

Setting the Christmas table

Christmas dinner table setting © WWF-Aus / Stef Mercurio

The Christmas table is where the best memories happen (after all, it’s where the food is). While many people might be tempted by all the Christmas-themed disposable cutlery, it’s much safer, eco-friendlier and classier to choose sustainable.

Cutlery and crockery

Use reusable bamboo or biodegradable cutlery

Mix and match unique kitchenware from op shops and ethical stores

Purchase reusable straws or skip them altogether

Use cloth napkins or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) napkins

Repurpose old jars for drinks


Centrepieces and table accents

Use native plants and flowers as centrepieces

Decorate using flowers like lavender or edible fruit, like cherries

The Christmas feast

Christmas left over jars with beeswax wraps © WWF-Aus / Stef Mercurio

Christmas is often the time where food waste is multiplied! While we might all love a good and hearty feast, it’s important that we don’t end up with leftovers that’ll soon become wasted.

Christmas meals

Opt for more vegetable meal options

Choose sustainably farmed seafood

Bake your own Christmas snacks and edibles and make the most out of produce past its prime

Shop for local and organic products at your green grocer

Packaging, storage and leftovers

 Skip the plastic packaging and plastic shopping bags! Bring your own reusable bags instead

Buy bread from your local baker and carry it in a reusable bread bag

Use bee wrap instead of plastic or aluminium wrap

Donate your leftovers to organisations like Foodbank, OzHarvest and SecondBite



Making even a small change to your usual holiday traditions can make a big difference in the long run for the future of our planet.


What plastic free, sustainable swap will you make this Christmas?


Feeling the spirit of the season of giving? Adopt a koala.

If you're still looking for a way to give back the planet, give the best gift of all this holiday season: a koala! By adopting a koala, you’ll be helping to protect existing trees and woodland, and restoring and planting new trees: the ultimate holiday gift.



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