Real Christmas tree with Father Christmas hanging decoration

Christmas plastic free 12 festive tips

Christmas plastic free: a present wrapped in brown paper with a cardboard gift tag, decorated with a bell-shaped cookie.

1. Christmas wrapping paper

Wrapping paper with a shiny surfance or glitter is likely to include plastic. Opt for the understated elegance of brown parcel paper – adding natural decorations like spruce or homemade cookies.

If fancy is your thing, make potato prints. You'll need a potato, a blunt knife to carve your festive design and vegetable-based ink to make your print.

Don't forget to check whether your paper can be recycled - if it scrunches, it's fine to recycle.

Christmas plastic free: a present wrapped in brown paper with a cardboard gift tag, decorated with a bell-shaped cookie.
Young boy with blond hair putting a red star on a real Christmas tree at a pine tree farm

2. Green Christmas trees

All Christmas trees are green. You want an eco one.

Firstly, if you've got a fake tree, keep using it – make it last as long as possible.

If not, get a real tree with an FSC logo or one approved by the Soil Association. Even better, rent one. Yes, you can now hire Christmas trees and return them after the festive season to carry on growing.

Feeling a bit radical? Decorate a large perennial indoor plant like a yucca.

Young boy with blond hair putting a red star on a real Christmas tree at a pine tree farm

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Happy planet with a Christmas present

3. Give a planet-friendly gift

Will you include the planet on your Christmas list this year?

By making a donation to Friends of the Earth, either for yourself or as a gift to a loved one, your gift will help fund our work in 2021.

For each gift you'll receive a personalised e-certificate to share.

Happy planet with a Christmas present
Earth Christmas pudding with a polar bear

4. Send a Christmas ecard

Make your Christmas even more sustainable by sending Friends of the Earth ecards this year.

It's quick and easy - just choose a design and personalise your message. You can send immediately, or schedule for a specific date and time.

You can send just one ecard, or up to 10 — with the option to personalise each greeting and delivery date.

Add an optional donation to support our environmental campaigns.

Earth Christmas pudding with a polar bear
Christmas plastic free: gingerbread cookies on a wood background, ready to hang on a Christmas tree

5. Edible Christmas decorations

What's better than pretty Christmas decorations? Pretty delicious ones that you can eat.

Things like tinsel and baubles are normally full of plastic. A tasty alternative is to hang home-baked Christmas cookies from the tree.

Strings of popcorn and cranberries also add a bit of sparkle.

Christmas plastic free: gingerbread cookies on a wood background, ready to hang on a Christmas tree
The necks of 5 bottles of plastic-free wine with biodegradable corks

6. Christmas beer and wine

It may come as a surprise but bottle tops and screw caps normally contain an inner plastic seal.

Buy wine bottles with corks. The cork oak used in wine stoppers is entirely sustainable according to the WWF – no trees are cut down.

Get beer cans in boxes to avoid the nasty 6-pack plastic rings. If you really don't do things in halves, how about buying a returnable keg from your local pub? Cheers.

The necks of 5 bottles of plastic-free wine with biodegradable corks

7. Eco Christmas crackers

Can you even remember the plastic tat that came out of last year's crackers?

Christmas crackers don't have to be bad. You can get ones made from recycled materials and you can also make your own. There are a number of different kits to choose from.

Why not leave it to the joker of the household? They can hardly do worse than gags like this: "Why did the pony have to gargle? Because it was a little horse".

Two young children sitting on a red wooden moose toy

8. Ethical gifts for young children

Wooden toys are making a comeback. From puzzles to push-along animals and musical instruments to building blocks, there are lots of choices for younger children.

And when your little ones have grown out of them, pass them on to other families or donate them to a charity shop. Alternatively, support Friends of the Earth and inspire budding planet-savers with a Planet Protector pack.

Two young children sitting on a red wooden moose toy
Christmas Bee Saver Kit 2020 Contents

9. Presents for bigger kids and adults

Friends of the Earth's Christmas Bee Saver Kit makes a wonderful gift for nature-lovers.

The festive kit contains everything you need to create a haven for bees and pollinating insects. Along with some Christmas goodies, you'll get wildflower seeds, a bee identification poster, garden planner and a bee saver guide.

Christmas Bee Saver Kit 2020 Contents
A woman and two men around a table at Christmas laughing at a cracker joke.

10. Christmas dinner with all the trimmings

For plastic-free veg and some of the best deals, head to your local market. Just remember to take your own bags.

If you want to avoid the crowds, get a Christmas veg box delivered to your door – our partner Abel & Cole is already taking orders.

You can get meat without plastic too. Visit your local butchers with your own containers.

A woman and two men around a table at Christmas laughing at a cracker joke.
Plastic-free homemade mince pies with a star-crust design, dusted with icing sugar

11. Mince pies and Christmas nibbles

Make your home smell of Christmas by following mum's organic mince pie recipe. There are equally tantalising recipes for vegan mince pies.

While you're at it, bake festive cookies and sing along to Christmas tunes you would never publicly admit to liking.

For chocolate, buy bars wrapped in recyclable paper, like Divine chocolate. Sadly, crisps come in packets that use a cocktail of plastics. This recipe for salt and vinegar crisps might float your boat.

Plastic-free homemade mince pies with a star-crust design, dusted with icing sugar
Real Christmas tree with Father Christmas hanging decoration

12. Make your Advent calendar

Try making your own Advent calendar this year. It's a great way to cut down on unwanted plastic and packaging, but also it gives you the chance to include your favourite sweet treats.

Real Christmas tree with Father Christmas hanging decoration

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