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.
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Decking the halls sustainably
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.
• 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
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
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 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.
• 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.
ADOPT A KOALA TODAY