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XmasIt’s not too many more sleeps until Christmas, so we’ve put together five hot tips for a Christmas which doesn’t cost the earth. A green Christmas has less impact on the environment (and the climate), but it can also be less stressful and more enjoyable for you.

1. Buy less, buy quality

There’s nothing worse than getting toys which go in the bin. Instead of buying lots of cheap toys which are destined for the landfill before the holidays finish, buy fewer items but spend a bit more to get well-made toys which will last. Think of the things that stand out in your memory of childhood Christmas presents (bikes, lego), chances are they’re still going to make a child really happy today and they’ll last for years.

2. Make it more about the day than the presents

swim smallAlthough we all love getting presents, often adults have nearly everything they need and want. Cutting back on presents can make Christmas more enjoyable and less stressful for everyone. Try putting all the adults’ names in a hat and pulling out one name each to buy for (keep it a secret who is buying for who). Or you can choose to buy food and drink treats to be consumed together.

Sharing a festive meal and creating other Christmas Day rituals like an early morning swim, or an annual adults vs kids game of cricket can be other highlights of the day which help take the focus off presents.

3. Clear out the fridge and the freezer

Clearing out the fridge and the freezer before Christmas Day can give you more space to store left-overs, meaning they’re less likely to go off before you get a chance to eat them. The freezer acts like a pause button, but you don’t want to leave food in there indefinitely as the quality starts to deteriorate after 3 months. Don’t worry if food has been in there longer though, you might just want to add some extra flavour through herbs and spices, or turn it into a curry.

4. Plan for left-overs

Putting food waste in the landfill can produce methane, a harmful climate change gas. It’s also a waste of all the energy, water and labour used to produce, harvest and transport the food. Plus it’s much more fun to eat food than bin it! You can pretty much guarantee that you’ll have left-overs around Christmas; so the trick is planning to eat them. Instead of cooking meals from scratch every day, plan to make a meal from left-overs every second or third day. Love Food Hate Waste has hundreds of recipes to use up left-overs, and you can search by an ingredient like turkey or ham.

5. Get creative with wrapping paper

potato stampsInstead of buying wrapping new wrapping paper, look around for paper which can be reused. If you have young kids, their (prolific) artwork can be ideal, or you can use rolls of old wallpaper. You can decorate plain brown paper using potato stamps, dried flowers, metallic paint or coloured pencils.

Do recycle your wrapping paper, unless it’s got a plastic coating (you can tell because the plastic layer stretches slightly when you try to rip it, a lot of cheap Christmas wrapping paper now has that plastic layer).