Wollaton Park by sunset

To quote famous singer Andy Williams, Christmas ‘is the most wonderful time of the year’…but is it really for our planet?

With so much focus on getting everything ready for the big day, it’s easy to forget the devastating impact we can be causing to the world around us.

Here are some key tips to help you live a more sustainable Christmas this year:

1) Shop local

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s eye catching deals, it can be easy to get caught in the trap of impulse buying, sometimes with little consideration as to where these clothes come from…why not now make a change to shop locally this Christmas?

Not only is it important to support and keep your local businesses thriving, the implications of buying online is detrimental to the well being of our planet. 

Fast fashion is ruining our environment, just like food, clothing wastage is high, and there are still people working in unethical conditions in factories across the world. 

There is a vast range of Nottingham-based vintage shops right on your doorstep, where pre-loved items can get a new lease of life.

Up in the Lace Market, Braderie (which also offers student discount) Cow, and Wild Clothing offer rare pieces great for stocking-fillers… 

A few yards down the road, charity shops like Sue Ryder and White Rose also specialise in second hand vintage items, and whilst it is good to consider the environmental benefits of buying used clothing, knowing that your money is going towards help for those less fortunate can be rewarding in itself. 

2) Be more DIY

There’s nothing more festive than getting together with friends and family to do something creative at Christmas.

Crafting your own decorations and christmas cards can be a great way of avoiding the temptation to go out and buy new ones every year, whilst all the while saving money and having fun!

Using sustainable materials such as holly, pinecones and ribbon can create the most beautiful pieces, and really help to give your home a more personal touch.

If you’re struggling with creativity, you may want to think about buying your Christmas accessories from somewhere that doesn’t harm the environment.

Local stores such as Shop Zero in Nottingham sell an array of recyclable Christmassy products such as recycled cards, eco-gift wrapping options and zero waste gift sets.

There’s also nothing more wasteful than spending money on fancy wrapping paper which will end up in the bin soon after – think old newspapers and ribbon, as opposed to store-bought gift wrapping and sellotape. 

3) Plan your presents

This tip may seem fairly obvious and perhaps goes without saying when it comes to prepping for Christmas.

However, getting together with a group of friends or work colleagues to arrange who’s going to buy for who, can avoid both spending money, and the wasteful buying of gifts people might not necessarily use. 

To put it simply, you’re more likely to be able to afford a better quality (and therefore more sustainable) present for one person, compared to having to buy for five or six people, for example.

By adopting the approach of Secret Santa, everyone in the group receives a present, but not everyone has to buy one. This way everyone gets a more sustainable, better quality gift, rather than having to shop cheaper to afford presents for everyone.

If you’re really stuck on what to buy someone but still want to surprise them, opting for gift vouchers from their favourite store is a good option as this increases their chances of making full use of the present you’re giving them, and reduces the chance of buying them something that will end up in the back of their wardrobe never being worn, or even worse, in the bin.

4) Don’t get stuffed!

When you’re planning on hosting a scrumptious Christmas feast, it can be tempting to stock up on huge supplies of food which often go uneaten.

In fact, according to a recent study, two million turkeys, five million Christmas puddings and 74 million mince pies get wasted every year in the UK during the festive period.

The best way to avoid this problem is to plan ahead: consider the amount of guests who you’ll be catering for and write a pre-decided list of things to buy before you head out on your food shop.

That way, you’ll be less likely to get drawn into offers and deals which lead to unnecessary buying, but at the same time won’t have to worry about not having enough food to go round.

If, after you finish your Christmas dinner, there is still some food left over that people haven’t quite been able to eat, considering donating it to a local food bank is a great option.

Another way of doing your bit to make this Christmas more sustainable, is to source your food locally.

If you like to enjoy turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets (plus all the other delicious elements of a Christmas dinner), why not buy these from your local farmer?

If you really want to push the boat out, perhaps consider the option of substituting your meat products for something more eco-friendly like a nut roast.

5) Stick to your home turf

We all know Christmas is a festive and magical time of year, so why not spend it enjoying your local attractions? 

This cuts down on pollution and unnecessary travel that contributes towards the rise in greenhouse gas emissions. 

Just like the shops, Nottingham’s attractions are only a short walk or bus ride away…

Wollaton Hall and Deer Park is a popular attraction to visit, where you can enjoy scenic walks all year round, but this really comes alive during the Christmas period.

Anyone can enjoy the atmospheric Christmas lights for a month running from December through to early January. 

E-scooters are the new initiative introduced by the council to provide a greener way of travelling across Nottingham, so instead of driving, or hopping in a taxi, using this new method of travel is a great way to get around quickly, as well as being eco-friendly. 

If you are a football lover, instead of travelling to support your favourite national team on boxing day this year, why not support a local team this season? 

After all, due to Covid, the bigger, more national football stadiums are out of bounds, so what have you got to lose?