The holiday season is upon us and, for many of us, the coming weeks herald a heady mix of eating, drinking, gift buying and meeting up with friends and family … not to mention the work Christmas party.
While your tree might be green, some of your other Christmas traditions probably won’t be.
But there is a way to stay off Santa’s naughty list this year.
For a more eco-friendly holiday season, Good Energy has produced some top tips to help you have a greener Christmas this year whilst also saving you money to buy some more mince pies!
The tree is the staple of most households over the festival season but did you know that more than 6 million are sent straight to the tip?
To make having a tree as sustainable as possible, try to buy one that’s UK grown from a company registered with the British Christmas Tree Growers Association. And don't forget to recycle your tree afterwards for composting or shredding!
Or, why not grow your own or rent one instead. Not only is this cheaper in the long run, it also has less of an environmental impact.
Block that chimney
Although it might be the best way to deliver presents, an unblocked fireplace can cause a lot of heat (and money) to go straight up the chimney, especially during the winter months.
To solve the problem, either cap your chimney, or if you use if more often, block the draught with an inflatable chimney balloon. Father Christmas will just have ring the doorbell instead.
A simple switch to energy saving LED lights could knock off up to £20 from your electricity bill during the Christmas season.
Other steps you can take to be greener and save money include:
- putting your lights on a timer
- having lights on for less time
- using eco-friendly alternatives like beeswax candles.
If you’re tired of buying gifts for your loved ones which end up in the bin by Boxing Day, why not try doing a secret Santa with friends and family instead?
Not only does it save on money, it also makes a gift much more personal and saves on unnecessary packaging too.
Alternatively, you could try making something at home or buying a more ethical gift instead. A year’s worth of 100% renewable electricity and green gas anyone?
Check out our favourite green gifts for this Christmas. You could even win yourself something too!
For decorations, cut down on the tinsel and try making or using ornaments made from natural materials such as holly, mistletoe, ivy, pine cones or poinsettia instead. They’re a great way to decorate a room, look perfect in wreaths and are fun to make with all the family.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without lots of delicious food to indulge in over the festive period.
But try keeping it green and source your ingredients as local as you can. And for the turkey, buy from a nearby farmer or visit the Big Barn Turkey Map to find all the organic and free-range turkey suppliers in your area.
Find out what other foods you can choose and discover our handy hints on how you can reduce your carbon footprint in the kitchen even further this Christmas.
Keeping the heat in
Draught proofing your windows and doors during winter can really help to cut your energy bill and keep you warm.
Using thermal curtains is another great way of keeping the heat in and they’re not as hard to make as you might think. Check out our simple step-by-step guide below, along with our partners at the National Trust.
And if you’re still feeling the cold, try popping on a festive jumper or wearing some extra layers to keep warm instead of turning up the thermostat.
Cards and Wrapping Paper
Staggeringly, us Brits throw away around 83 square km of wrapping paper every Christmas. So when choosing your wrapping paper, try to buy from sustainable sources. Better still, try reusable bags or stockings to wrap presents. Use offcuts of paper or old cards to make gift tags or even try hiding presents around the house instead of wrapping them!
E-cards are continuing to grow in popularity and are a much more environmentally friendly way of sending festive greetings. They cut your carbon footprint, save trees and cost a lot less. But if you still prefer to send traditional cards, try making your own by cutting up cards from last year or buying eco-friendly cards made from recycled materials instead.
Other steps you might want to consider are:
- Travel greener by sharing lifts to go Christmas shopping or when visiting family
- Turn off the TV or games console and have fun the old fashioned way – play board games, read a book or go for a refreshing winter walk
- Instead of buying extra plates, chairs and crockery just for one day, rent them instead. Check out rentmyitems.com to find out what might be nearby.