13 tips for a very merry waste-free Christmas!

Keen to make the most of the festive season without the avoidable waste?

Christmas day is on the way, along with all the extra consumerism that it entails. But the holiday season doesn’t have to be such a wasteful time! By getting creative and rethinking some traditions, you and your family can have a greener, happy Christmas with minimal waste!

Here we've compiled some easy ways to help get you on your way to a zero waste Chrissy.

Top 13 tips for a waste-free Christmas


1. The Decorations
The shops may have been stocking their Christmas decorations since October, but you don’t need to get wrapped up in the frenzy! But going plastic free isn't as hard as you think. If you already own a store-bought tree - keep it! A plastic Christmas tree should last you years, so there is no need to bin it, plus you'll probably be able to pass it on when no longer needed. If you don't own a tree, a fun idea is to buy a fruit tree to use as your Christmas tree each year and plant it after Christmas.

Steer away from plastic decorations - get creative and make your own! Check out these easy DIY bonbons via Laura Trotta of Sustainahome, and exceptionally lovely rosemary wreaths via Spoon Fork Bacon. If you're not feeling particularly arty, simply use flowers to lift the mood in your office for example, or we love these ceramic Star Ornaments from Hanging Rock Studio. 

Low waste / plastic free Christmas decorating: Rosemary wreath

2. Gift Requests / Planning
Your family or friends could hold a Secret Santa to reduce waste and save money. Simply put names in a hat, along with some helpful gift idea hints. When it comes to presents for the kids, encourage shared gifts e.g. board games or pool passes rather than individual gifts. Let relatives know that while you're appreciative of their thoughtfulness, you're hoping to create a more meaningful, less materialistic holiday. By highlighting items a child really needs or suggesting alternative ideas (such as an experiences or activities), parents can guide loved ones towards making more sustainable and meaningful gift choices without coming off as too restrictive.


3. Buy pre-loved
Get your op-shop on - you might be surprised at what you can at your local secondhand store. Check out this gorgeous Op-Shop Christmas Dining table via Live For Less. When hand-making gifts, try sourcing materials from secondhand stores too. 

4. Make your own
Get creative and give someone a one of a kind gift. Putting time into making environmentally conscious gifts for your loved ones is a really meaningful gifting option. When hand making something, you can try to avoid plastic packaging from your raw ingredients by purchasing from bulk stores (or anywhere that will let you bring your own container). Got sweet skills in the kitchen? Cakes, chilli oil, bliss balls, Christmas cookies, Limoncello, jams and chutneys (the list goes on!) can make useful and thoughtful presents, and cut down on food waste. DIY an egg box garden kit complete with seeds, coffee scrub, lavender wheat bags,  a Christmas bunting, or even lovely homemade frankincense and myrrh soap

Coffee spiced body scrub: Low waste, eco-friendly Christmas gift ideas

5. Shop local
It could be wooden baby toys, a locally made handbag or your local coffee roaster - either way it’s the perfect opportunity to support your local businesses and discover something new!

6. Bottoms up!
On that note, edible (and drinkable) gifts surely won’t find their way into the bin! Who wouldn't say no to a couple of craft beers from a local brewery, or lovely pure honey from a nearby bee keeper!

7. Make memories
Rather than material things, go for an unforgettable gift. One very simple way to accomplish this is by giving experiences like a movie pass, a spa day, gig tickets, a hot air balloon trip, wine tastings or a Zoo pass. This also helps to support your local economy.

8. Add value
Memberships and courses like sewing or bike maintenance give people the chance to develop a skill, as well as indulging in a hobby or passion. Classes and courses are a perfect example of gifts that keep on giving. Another way to do this is to give a gift that will help to reduce waste in the long run - how about a Crema Joe reusable capsule for your coffee loving friend, or these super cute and versatile food pots via Seed & Sprout.

9. Wrap it up
So much paper is wasted during the festive season. Reduce your household waste by creating your own using recycled or scrap paper. You may already have plenty of materials you can use on-hand at home to wrap your gifts - check out these fun ways to craft with Who Give's A Crap wrappers! Once unwrapped, these materials can either be recycled or used again.

Plastic-free Xmas: Who Gives A Crap toilet paper gift-wrapping ideas

An alternative to paper wrapping is the Japanese Furoshiki. This is a traditional art of fabric wrapping, where the fabric used is intended to be reused for future gifts. We love this Furoshiki Fabric Wrapping Paper via Madeinbathurst. You can also DIY it with pre-printed material like these little beauties via My Poppet Makes & Spoonflower, or even print your own à la this lovely Botanical Printmaking Workshop from Australian artist Bronwyn Ward.

Another simple option is reusable Christmas fabric bags, like those made by Mt Evelyn Boomerang Bags in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

Furoshiki: Low waste, plastic-free wrapping paper ideas

Hand-printed fabric: Birthday/Xmas sustainable gift ideas

10. Cards
Cut down on paper waste simply by either sending e-cards, buying cards made from recycled paper or making your own from materials you already have.

The day

11. Food
Make sure you've planned your meals before you go food shopping. Writing a list helps to ensure you don’t overbuy, saves you cash and prevents food waste.

12. Be green
Opt for solar power outdoor lights if possible, and don't forget to turn your Christmas lights off when you’re out or heading to bed.

The aftermath

13. Pay it forward
Received a gift you don’t need or want, and just don't feel comfortable asking for the receipt? Return it for an exchange, sell it, re-gift it if you know someone who would love it, or donate it to charity.

For more eco-friendly gift inspo, head to our coffee inspired Zero Waste Xmas Gift Guide - and don't forget to check out our reusable capsule range for the coffee-pod-lovin' caffeine addict in your life!

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