Plastic free Christmas ideas

1. Christmas cards

Billions of Christmas cards are sold every year but many are not recycled. Cards are often embellished with plastic and glitter, which makes them non-recyclable. You can tear off parts that can’t be recycled, but making your own cards is much more cost effective, personal and fully recyclable. All you need is recycled plain card, ink stamps, crayons and your imagination. 

2. Christmas decorations

Although most plastic-based decorations are used over several years, many (such as tinsel) degrade over time, releasing plastic fragments. An alternative is to use string and natural materials, such as pine cones and fruit, which look good & reduce plastic at the same time.

3. Christmas wreaths

Plastic based floral foam often used as a backing to hold christmas wreaths together, which crumbles into small microplastics over time. Make sure you buy wreaths that include natural moss. Or, you can make your own wreath, which can be used for years using natural materials.

Making a natural Christmas wreath is fun and plastic-free. 

4. Christmas trees

You’d have to use an artificial plastic tree for over then years to reduce the carbon footprint to that of a real tree. But the best option of all is to buy a potted tree which you can plant out and repot every year.

5. Mince pies

Out of all the mince pies purchased people consume only 80% of them. Around 62m plastic trays are needed to hold all the pies that are sold. The best solution is to make your own.

6. Secret Santa

Secret Santa is a great tradition, but often results in people trying to buy silly gifts that are cheap and tacky and often made of plastic that is quickly thrown away. A nice alternative could be a refillable gift stored in a glass jar a such as hot chocolate or pancake mix.

7. Wrapping paper

A lot of wrapping paper contains glitter & plastic films that can make them non-recyclable. An easy alternative is to use recycled brown paper & string.

Recycled brown paper is a sustainable and fashionable choice for wrapping. 

8. Reindeer food

“Reindeer food” has become a popular craft activity for families at Christmas, often made from porridge oats and glitter that is spread in the garden for Santa’s reindeers. Glitter is technically a microplastic and cannot be recycled, but there are natural alternatives such as the mineral mica which has the same effect without the environmental impact.  

9. Christmas stockings

Gone are the days of the small fabric stockings that dangle at the end of the bed. Now it’s all about huge synthetic stockings that brim with presents and flashing lights. By using felt, old pillow cases or even old socks you can recreate your own plastic free personal stockings which children will cherish for years to come.

10. Christmas crackers

The majority of Christmas crackers are laden with teeny, tiny plastic gifts. With over 150 million pulled each year, that’s a lot of plastic waste with a few hours of lifespan before the rubbish bin. Make your own crackers and fill them with homemade hats, dad jokes and tiny games such as bingo or origami frog racing for a fun & unique alternative. 

DIY Christmas crackers – let your imagination run wild. 

11. Christmas dinner

Christmas dinner comes with a huge amount of plastic packaging. Even when you attempt to be good and buy loose vegetables at the supermarket, most retailers still only have single use plastic bags to hand. Worry not – all you need is a lightweight material, such as an old pillow case and you can make your own veggie bags that you can use again and again.

12. Advent calenders

You have 12 months to get ready for next year. Instead of buying an advent calendar wrapped in plastic and with chocolate in plastic moulding, why not make your own? One suggested design features 24 matchboxes filled with chocolate and wrapped in card.