Have Yourself An Eco-Friendly Christmas!


Save money and care for our environment this Christmas with our easy ideas.

Christmas lights

Indoor LED lights are brighter and more efficient than standard lights. They also use 75% less energy, so switching means you’ll save energy and money!

Using a timer is another way to save energy, and also means you don’t have to worry about leaving lights on accidentally.

Advent Calendars

To cut down on waste, treat yourself — or a little loved one — to a wooden or fabric Advent Calendar.


Natural plants and cuttings make a nice change from tinsel and plastic baubles, which often aren’t recyclable.

Pine cones and dried slices of citrus fruit make beautiful, fragrant decorations. And holly, berries and ivy from the garden make an amazing Christmas wreath.

Decorations made from recycled wood, fabric or glass make a good alternative to plastic.


Defrosting your freezer before Christmas will help it function more efficiently — and free up space for leftovers!

Having the family round? Planning ahead will help reduce waste, as will using reusable cups, plates and glasses rather than single-use plastic cups and paper plates.

Buying locally helps support small suppliers in your community, while buying loose fruit and veg cuts down on packaging.

If you do have leftovers, you can use them to create favourite dishes like bubble and squeak — or perhaps donate them to an elderly neighbour or local food bank. Check if anything’s freezable, and try to compost any other food waste.

Remember to take fabric bags when you head to the shops. And try not to leave them in the car!

Christmas trees

Although artificial trees can last a number of years, they’re usually non-recyclable and eventually end up in landfill. They’re also often shipped from overseas, which isn’t environmentally friendly.

If you’re buying a real tree, the British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association can help you check your tree is from a sustainable source. A tree with roots will allow it to be replanted and reused next year.

Real trees can also be composted after Christmas, or taken to your local Christmas tree recycling centre. Some local councils offer a free collection service in the new year.

Wrapping paper

One estimate suggests that around 300,000 miles of wrapping paper will be used over the festive period. Not all of it can be recycled — especially if it contains glitter or foil.

Why not keep this year’s wrapping paper to reuse next year? Or use brown paper, and Christmas-it-up with some festive string and sprigs of pine?


100% recycled cards are available. The Forest Stewardship Council symbol (FSC) on the back will let you know your cards have been sustainably sourced.

Or why not send an e-card?

Ethical Gifts

Lots of unwanted gifts are binned.

If you do receive a gift you don’t want, perhaps you could consider donating it to a good cause? Secret Santa gift-giving, so everyone in the family buys just one gift, can also help cut down waste.

And if everyone you know has everything they need, ethical Christmas gifts can help people in the developing world.

Websites such as www.market.unicef.org.uk/inspired-gifts/ and www.sciaf.org.uk/real-gifts-store help provide needy families with essentials such as seeds and chickens, to provide food and a little extra income. Prices start at around £4.

Or why not make a donation on a loved one’s behalf to Friends Of The Earth and receive a Bee Saver Kit, which can help give your neighbourhood bees vital food and habitat?

For more festive advice, articles and stories, subscribe to “The People’s Friend” today.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!