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To make your Christmas Eco-Friendly, we need to focus on a time for family fun, togetherness, joy, laughter, peace, and love, not the excesses that it can produce. Everything from consumerism and materialism contributing to financial strain to decorating, shopping, and food preparation can contribute to the pressure and stress of creating the perfect Christmas. It is also a time that takes its toll on the environment.

Every aspect of Christmas touches the environment. Decorations, gifts, shopping, food, energy consumption, and travel all impact the environment. Goodwill on Earth should include goodwill to the earth!

This article will show how with a little imagination and effort you can make your Christmas eco-friendly and festive. You can have both a white and green Christmas.

1. Rethink Christmas Cards to Make Christmas Eco-Friendly

Holiday Cards can produce significant paper waste. Choose Eco-Friendly Christmas alternatives

Generally, the first thing we do to kick off the Holiday season is to send Christmas Cards. Christmas cards are still an ingrained custom that has been passed down generations. It is a meaningful way to express our sentiments over the holiday season and reach out to people that we are thinking about. It feels more personal than sending an e-greeting card. However, it does harm our environment.

Each year, the world produces more than 300 million tons of paper. Therefore, it is important not to create unnecessary harmful waste. This means reducing the purchase of Christmas Cards and finding alternatives to the traditional paper cards.

The first and most obvious way to help the environment is review your Christmas Card list and send cards to only those people who truly mean something to you.

Next, because you have pared down your list, you might consider homemade Christmas cards. They are more thoughtful, personal, and fun. They will be even more appreciated. For handmade cards to be eco-friendly they should be made for eco-friendly paper, avoid glitter, and use vegetable-based inks. Collect bits and pieces of things to use throughout the year, including old cards and get creative.

One development in the paper industry is seed paper. It is handmade paper embedded with seed that can sprout and germinate when planted. Good Earth Gifting has a list of small Canadian Businesses from across the country where you can purchase Christmas eco-friendly cards.

2. Decorate Your House with the Environment in Mind

Use natural materials to decorate your house for and Eco-Friendly Christmas

The most eco-friendly way to decorate your house for Christmas is to use what you already have. No need to buy new decorations if you already have them. Many times, these decorations are family heirlooms that are used year after year. These are the most sustainable of all. If you need to buy new or more decorations, consider buying used decorations from thrift shops, new decorations from craft fairs always ensuring they are made from renewable or recycled materials, or if necessary new store-bought with special attention to how and where they are made.

A great way to reduce your impact on the environment is to save electricity. Electricity drains natural resources. In the past, the house with the most lights was considered the best. Now a reduced number of lights decorated with natural elements like tree branches, pine boughs, and berries will make the décor more beautiful during both the day and night.

Also using LED lights, outdoor mini lights and reducing the number of hours that your lights are on will go a long way to save electricity. Consider getting a timer for your lights to avoid them being on throughout the night. Another saver is to reduce the number of days that you turn your lights on.

Wreaths are also a beautiful Christmas decoration, but not all are eco-friendly. Plastic accessories and glitter are made from non-sustainable materials and can be harmful to birds. Making a Eco-Friendly Christmas fabric wreath  is your best option to last many years. However, if you are in the spirit to make a fresh eco-friendly Christmas wreath every year, this can be a reasonably inexpensive and beautiful way to adorn your home. Using clippings of foliage from around your house is free. These are great ways to make your Chrismas eco-friendly.

3. Get a Real Tree to Make your Christmas Eco-Friendly

A Real Christmas Tree is better for the environment

It might seem counterintuitive to get a real tree every year instead of an artificial tree that lasts for a few years, but real trees are better for the environment. The best alternative would be to use a living tree, but they are often small.

Real trees don’t require intensive carbon emissions to produce. Tree farms replant keeping their lands covered in healthy forest habitat for wildlife. Real trees are also recycled in virtually every community in North America. Check with your local community to see when they will pick up your tree after Christmas. Real trees can cut carbon emissions by 30%.

Artificial trees are bad for the environment. Nearly 90% of them are made in China and shipped across the world. Just shipping results in an increase in carbon emissions and resources. Most artificial trees end up in landfills because of the materials they are made from, they are hard to recycle. The manufacturing of these trees also uses more energy and produces more carbon emissions than a real tree. You would need to use an artificial tree for over 30 years before it would become carbon neutral. I am not sure about you, but I have yet to see a 30-year-old artificial tree that still looks nice.

4. Give Eco-Friendly Christmas Gifts

JUstenbois has gifts that are thoughtful and make the perfect eco-friendly Christmas gift

Choose thoughtful and sustainable gifts. Look for products with minimal packaging or packaging made from recycled materials. Avoid gifts that are made from unsustainable materials like plastic, are battery operated, or single-use items. Choose gifts that are designed to last and can be disposed of easily by recycling or composting.

JUstenbois makes maple wood cutlery and dishes that can last 15 years and when the time comes can be disposed of easily in your compost. They make great eco-friendly Christmas gifts.

Support local businesses and artisans to reduce carbon footprint associated with shipping. Consider buying vintage items or second-hand gifts. If a product is being shipped, look to your postal service as the shipper, as their trucks are being replaced with electric vehicles and as part of their promised service they are required to be on the road. Therefore, you are not adding unnecessary vehicles to the road.

Consider reducing the number of gifts you give. Instead of buying everyone on your list a gift, consider having a secret Santa exchange. If you can’t get together to pick names for your secret Santa, you can use an app like Elfster to generate names and provide gift suggestions for participants.

Better yet, replace gifts all together with your time and create new traditions that focus on togetherness, creating memories instead of waste.

5. Wrap your Eco-Friendly Christmas Gifts with Fabric or Kraft Paper

Kraft Paper used for eco-friendly Christmas Wrapping is 100% reusable, recyclable, and biodegradable

During the holiday season, wrapping paper contributes to the much higher level of waste produced. Finding alternatives to throwing away wrapping paper is an easy step to help the environment. Wrapping paper is quite often not recyclable because it contains elements like foil, glitter, or plastic.

Reusable Fabric is the most environmentally friendly alternative. Furoshiki is a Japanese tradition that is used to carry around belongings in a wrapping cloth. This technique can be applied to eco-friendly Christmas wrapping. Using a piece of cloth, you already own, like a scarf or kitchen towel, apply this technique to be eco-friendly and still look festive.

Kraft paper is 100% reusable, recyclable, and biodegradable. This is a great alternative. It is a great base to let your creativity shine. The rustic look of the paper combined with natural materials like pinecones, tree branches, and dried plants with reusable ribbon make this a very attractive wrapped gift. Try to avoid using tape.

Fabric gift bags are another great alternative. They are quite easy to make if you have a sewing machine. If you don’t, they are easy to find online or in local shops and will last for years to come.

Whichever alternative you use, save the cloth or paper and reuse. There is another benefit of using neutral cloth or paper, it can be used for any occasion as the base and dressed up with the appropriate ribbon and natural materials for that gift.

6. Make Mindful Food Choices

Make mindful food choices that reduce waste for your Christmas dinner

Christmas is a time of food, family, and feast. It is also a time when in our exuberance to make that perfect meal, we tend to overdo and waste food. The best way to avoid this is to plan meals with the reduction of food waste in mind. A great tip to ensure there is less waste is to make space in your freezer for the eventual leftovers. This means eating the food in your freezer in the run-up to the eco-friendly Christmas meal, leaving plenty of room for leftovers.

Another way to help the environment is to buy your food from the right place. Choose locally sourced, organic, and sustainably produced food. You will be showing your support for ethical small-scale producers with less packaging. You will also be ensuring that your food has travelled fewer miles or kilometers, thus reducing carbon emissions.

Finally, while preparing your food and clearing the table, don’t forget to compost. Most communities collect compost. Some communities permit meat, fish, and bones, while others don’t. In all cases vegetable scraps are permitted. Check with your local community to see what is permitted and compost as much as possible.


By incorporating these practices into your holiday celebrations, you can contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly Christmas. Remember that small changes like these can add up and ultimately make a significant positive difference to better the environment.

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