Guide to a responsible Christmas

For many of us, this festive period is a time to be with family and loved ones. We sincerely hope that the health crisis will not prevent you from spending time with them. 

Christmas is often a time of over-consumption and waste can quickly pile up. But with a little thought, it's actually a lot of fun to make Christmas the perfect time to do things differently. Here we've put together some tips for a sustainable Christmas. In this issue:

  • The Christmas tree
  • The decorations
  • The tradition of gifts
  • Gift wrapping
  • Food waste



  • If you have a garden, you might consider buying a live Christmas tree in its pot, which means that its roots are intact, so you can replant it outside. If this option seems feasible, you can find information on how to do this here
  • Did you know that you can also rent a Christmas tree? This option is becoming increasingly popular! In France, one of the options is the Christmas tree, but a quick check online should allow you to choose between several options, no matter where you live.
  • If you buy a rootless tree, don't feel guilty. Some experts still consider its carbon footprint to be positive because it produced oxygen during its growth. In this case, give priority to locally grown trees and make sure you dispose of them properly. Many municipalities will organise a proper collection in the days after Christmas.



  • Have you considered buying second-hand decorations? We tend to forget this, but thrift stores and flea markets can offer many possibilities. Check with your local shop before buying something new.
  • Homemade decorating is also a very fun way to decorate your home. It can be a way to consciously prepare for Christmas or a fun activity to do with your friends/family. Here are some of our favourites:
    • Popcorn garland (tutorial here)
    • Dried orange slices garland (tutorial here)
    • Origami paper angels (tutorial here)
    • Decoration in salt dough (tutorial here)
    • Drawing with white felt pen on the windows (tutorial here)






If you want to be more responsible with your Christmas gifts this year, here are some ideas:

The gift of experience. Take a trip together, attend an art exhibition, go to a concert or an escape game, enjoy a day at a trampoline park... Create memories with your loved ones! If you know they would like to take up a new hobby, offer them some introductory lessons, etc.

Newgifts but made to last. When buying a new item as a gift, invest in quality items. Choose natural materials rather than plastic: wooden toys, sustainably made board games, stainless steel or cast iron kitchenware, organic linens, etc.

Zero waste gifts. Convert your friends and family to sustainable living. Offer them sustainable alternatives to disposable plastic products, such as a safety razor, a coffee mug or a water bottle.

Give edible gifts. Fill reusable glass jars with homemade goodies like candied nuts, biscotti, chocolate truffles, granola. What better way to win someone's heart than with a gourmet gift? For more fun, decorate the jars.

Buy handmadeproducts . Find a unique gift in a second-hand shop. It's not common (yet), so make sure you choose the right person to give this gift to and explain your zero waste approach. If you have chosen it, it is because you sincerely believe that this object will please them! What counts in a gift is the thought and love the person has put into it, not the price.

DIY gifts. A responsible alternative to buying gifts could be to make them yourself. It takes time to make a handmade gift, you can be sure that the person will appreciate your intention and efforts.



  • Recyclable wrapping paper. Most wrapping paper, especially if it is shiny or glittery, contains plastic. This makes them non-recyclable. The ribbons and bows on traditional gifts are also plastic. Instead, use kraft wrapping paper, old newspaper, raffia or cotton ribbons and other natural items to ensure that your wrapping does not contribute to plastic pollution.
  • Have you heard of Furoshiki? If you haven't, you need to check this out! It's a Japanese technique that involves wrapping a gift in a square of cloth. The person receiving the gift can either return it to you or use it for their own future gifts.
  • Cotton bags: if you don't have a square of fabric available, or if you don't have the patience/skills to master the knotting technique, you can also use cotton bags similar to the one you use for bulk food shopping! Use the drawstring to make a pretty knot.
  • When you receive a wrapped gift, avoid tearing the paper as we often did. Just unwrap it carefully by peeling off the adhesive, remove the adhesive and the labels and reuse it for future gifts.





  • Plan ahead. Check what you have in your pantry, list what you need and buy in bulk so you only buy what you need.
  • Buffet-style dinners or aperitif dinners, as opposed to plated dinners, reduce waste because everyone can serve themselves just what they want in the portion they want. Leftovers from the platters can be saved for the next day (whereas leftovers from the plates usually end up in the bin)
  • Cook and portion. It's hard to plan large table meals when you're not used to it. But a neat trick is to prepare a large quantity, divide it immediately into smaller portions and serve the portions to the table as you go. Those that are not touched can be frozen and eaten later. It is always nice to have a good dinner ready in a few minutes after a long day's work.
  • The meaning of the labels: "best before" is only an indication of taste and appearance, but the food will still be safe to eat after this date. The "best before" date is an indication you should pay more attention to, as products may not be edible after this date (although most foods are still edible after the date indicated, but we won't go into that).
  • Get creative with leftovers. If you need inspiration, check out Love Food Hate Waste, which has lots of clever ideas for making the most of the food you have on hand.


We hope these little tips will help you if you're looking to do things a little more responsibly this year. But Christmas is a time for indulgence, fun and togetherness. Sometimes there will be waste despite your best efforts. Don't feel too guilty. Do your best, spread some love around and make sure you make the most of this time of year.


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