How to deck the halls sustainably, our tips for a planet friendly holiday season

How to deck the halls sustainably, our tips for a planet friendly holiday season

How to deck the halls sustainably, our tips for a planet friendly holiday season

The holidays are just around the corner (in case you hadn’t noticed) and if you’re keen to make your festive period a more sustainable one, Green Labs is here to help! Members of our wonderful Green Labs team have provided their top tips to help you make the holiday season more planet friendly.


  • DIY your own advent calendar using cute little bags or draws. Not only will this be reusable but also feels more thoughtful and can spread the cost of it across the year (starting next year). – Philippa Clarke
  • Try to avoid food waste by ensuring you have a list when you do your food shopping and stick to it! If you do have any leftovers, get creative and use them up with recipes like bubble and squeak, turkey curry, potato hash, pies etc. – Helen Seekings-Denham
  • Try to minimise food waste by planning well, eating leftovers and donating what you can't use (e.g. using an app like Olio or a local food bank). – Jo Durgan
  • Make sure all vegetable peelings go into your green bin (or start your own composter if you don’t have one), alternatively you can freeze them and use to make delicious veggie stock! – Olivia Cracknell
  • British produce –from an environmental perspective, when it comes to buying your food, British is best. Why not support the farmers down the road and do the right thing for the planet by looking at the label and choosing veg grown closest to you. – Philippa Clarke


Wooden Christmas Tree

  • Rather than a plastic (big carbon foot print) or real tree (chopped down, or in a pot destined to die by mid-February), try something like this wooden tree which is reusable and made of sustainable materials, you can buy something like it on Etsy or make one yourself. - Olly Stokoe
  • One thing that we have done in recent years is to have a potted Christmas tree. We just leave it outside in Mum's garden throughout the year in a semi-shady spot, and it has survived several years now. This is much more sustainable than buying and then binning a real tree every year. – Will Foster
  • If you do like a real tree then consider local. We found a company who grow Christmas trees locally, deliver them for Christmas, then pick up again in January to recycle as mulch for their farm. – Jo Durgan
  • Make your own pine cone decorations. Get out for a walk and go pine cone hunting! Pine cones make beautiful decorations that can be used again each year. My children love painting these or making pine cone owls! - Helen Seekings-Denham
  • Turn Christmas lights off at night or use solar powered ones for outside. – Philippa Clarke


  • Ensure that wrapping paper and Christmas cards are of the recyclable variety, no foil or glitter. – Olivia Cracknell
  • Instead of using cello tape, get creative with natural strings such as hemp or jute. – Helen Seekings-Denham
  • Use newspaper as wrapping paper and re-use cardboard boxes. – Philippa Clarke


  • Jars of jam

    I always make a Mob Kitchen batch of chilli jam with home grown chillies to give as gifts. Not only do people appreciate the time you’ve put into it but it’s a great last minute, didn’t think we were doing presents, kind of present. Home-made doesn’t mean you have to be arty, I suck at creative things, but cooking is my jam (pun intended), so think about something that you enjoy making and go from there. – Philippa Clarke
  • This might be considered scrooge-like, but giving fewer presents, or considering presents from local sources, or those that are not electronics and so have a lower footprint over their used lifetime can save C02. – Will Foster
  • Buy less stuff! Overconsumption creates needless emissions and pollution. In the past, our kids really enjoyed tickets for Wicked and the Harry Potter studio tour (and were surprisingly happy to get litter pickers for lockdown walks)! – Jo Durgan
  • Consider buying second hand – checking out the knick-knacks in charity shops can help you find some cheap presents while helping the environment and giving to charity. – Olivia Cracknell
  • The idea of giving theatre tickets, paying for the gym membership, giving gift cards toward grocery, paying for children’s afterschool activities (swimming, ice skating, foreign language lessons, piano or other instrument lessons) works very well in our case, especially with adults and older children. Other good gifts might be a vegetable box subscription which not only adds something healthy to our diet but also promotes local, fresh produce and keeps local farmers in jobs. - Izabella Niewczas
  • Donate to plant a tree or dedicate a tree as a gift. These kinds of initiatives are run by The Woodland Trust and National Trust. – Helen Seekings-Denham

We hope these tips help and we wish you a happy, healthy and sustainable Christmas! 

Here are a few more links to explore if this blog has inspired you:

Top tips for a sustainable Christmas | WWF

Tips for an Eco-Friendly Sustainable Christmas | Woodland Trust

Eco-Friendly Ways to Recycle Christmas Waste | Woodland Trust