Reduce your costs and impact on the environment this Christmas

13 December 2022
A small stack of presents from above and the presents are wrapped in brown paper with a pine leaf design on one and a string ribbon

With the festive season in full swing, we’ve shared our top tips to help you save the pennies and look after the planet so that you can enjoy a merry eco Christmas.

Wrapping paper

Did you know that in the UK we use 226,000 miles of wrapping paper – that’s enough to wrap around the world nine times!

Using brown paper or left-over wallpaper you can create your own wrapping paper by stamping patterns or adding hand-drawn designs. This is a great Christmas craft for any little ones too.

Why not try one of these other festive finishes to make your gift giving just that little more eco-friendly:

  • Swap sticky tape for twine or washi tape
  • Repurpose kids’ artwork,
  • Turn a (clean) crisp packet inside out and use the shiny side where you would use foil accessories
  • Jazz up a pillowcase, old sheet music or a scarf you don’t use
  • Try Furoshiki the Japanese art of fabric origami
  • Decorate with nature (lavender, pine cones, rosemary, holly, cinnamon quills are just some ideas)

If you’re using wrapping paper, try and look for something recyclable. That means avoiding designs that use foil or glitter as these can’t be recycled.


If you need new or replacement Christmas lights, look for LED lights that are a more sustainable option as they use 80% less energy in comparison to incandescent bulbs.

If you'd like to create some of your own decorations, there are lots of simple ideas. Why not try handmade knitted decorations, dried fruit garlands, upcycled jars for candles, decorations made from upcycled toilet paper rolls or ribbons. Hang on to any odds and ends that could be used for next year’s decorations.

Shop local

Following on from Small Business Saturday earlier this month, why not continue sharing the small business love and shop local for fresh produce – there are plenty to choose from across the borough.

If you need more convincing …check out our five reasons to shop local.

When food shopping, you could buy loose items and avoid fruits, vegetables and other items wrapped in plastic packaging – just remember to take your own re-usable bags with you. Or if you plan to use a zero-waste store for even more of your kitchen cupboard items don't forget your reusable containers.

Remember to recycle

Don’t forget cardboard can be recycled – as long as any plastics, tape or polystyrene have been removed! Flatten any boxes to save space for all other recyclable items.

Plastic free wrapping paper can also be recycled – simply pop it in your grey bin. Not all wrapping paper is recyclable though so do the scrunch test – if it bounces back, it can’t be recycled.

For more information on what can be recycled visit the Recycle Now website.

Food and leftovers

As tempting as those extra food items can be when shopping, by making a list (and checking it twice) and only buying what you need can save food waste and money. Love Food Hate Waste have some helpful tips for planning your Christmas food shop.

After Christmas, if you do have any leftovers, why not try out some new recipes – you might even find a new family favourite or make some new traditions in the process.

You can’t beat a turkey sandwich after the big day …but you could also use your leftovers for pies, soups and curries. Visit Love Food Hate Waste to check out some of their tasty recipes ideas.