5 Ideas For a More Sustainable Christmas
Between last-minute Christmas gifting, festive home decorating and yuletide table setting, it’s natural for environmentally conscious purchases to take a back seat as you eat, shop and decorate to your merry heart’s content.
But if there’s anything the sustainability movement has taught us, it’s that small changes can make a big difference. Have you ever heard the saying “the most sustainable wardrobe is the one you already own”? The same sentiment applies to bauble collections, chests full of tinsel and strings of snowflake-shaped bulbs, but if you’re looking for some new additions, there are eco-friendly options to explore. You don’t need to rethink your traditions or overhaul your entire decor aesthetic to have an eco-friendly Christmas. Scroll on for our roundup of five easy, low-effort actions you can take as December approaches.
Everyone can shop more thoughtfully with just a little bit of effort. Step one is finding a brand you love which happens to create goods with the planet in mind. At Trouva, we’ve got a conscious curation of independent brands that do all they can to limit their environmental footprint. Whether it’s the fabrics they use – think recycled, organic and biodegradeable materials – their low-impact production processes, or simply the longevity of their creations, ethical and sustainable brands such as Nkuku, THIE and Artisans & Adventurers show us how it should be done.
Trouva boutique AARVEN houses a particularly special selection, working directly with skilled artisans in India and Africa who craft beautiful homewares in ethical working environments. Hang a pair of block-printed stockings on your mantlepiece, or top your tree with a hand-beaded star. We’re also excited about Garden Trading’s recycled glass baubles, which will suit all kinds of homes and promise to be modern additions to your Christmas tree (in more ways than one).
Even with well-intentioned wishlists and resolute willpower, in the pandemonium and last-minute panic of the festive season, not every spend will be sensible. But you can avoid the unnecessary waste of an impulse purchase in the decoration department by planning your tree in advance.
Go back to basics and evaluate what tree type feels the most sustainable. If you’re set on having a real tree, rent one or research eco-friendly initiatives to re-plant Christmas pines in your area. Alternatively, a plastic-free, reusable wooden tree can be pulled out annually, and gives a distinctly contemporary look. We love the birch trees created by Lovi. When it comes time to pick your ornaments, decide on a colour scheme, theme or style you don’t see yourself changing your mind about in years to come. They’ll only come out of the attic once a year, so there’s no point making your future self tolerate once-trendy designs.
Sure, those ready-made plastic decorations and foil bunting sets look the part, but ask yourself: Will they realistically last? Christmas can be a busy time of year for a home, with a lot of friends and family coming and going. With this in mind, choose sturdy and durable decorations that will survive excitable children and family pets. If you’re set on the delicate paper aesthetic, browse the intricate paper pieces designed by Jurianne Matter, or choose products that have already lived a life, such as Ferm Living and AARVEN’s recycled paper tree ornaments.
Apply the same approach to your December tablescape. No need for novelty paper plates and single-use napkins; opt for seasonless ceramics and lasting textiles that can be transformed with a few sprigs of holly and your handmade decorations assembled on the table.
So, that twinkly bauble you’ve got your eye on isn’t made from recycled materials. Don’t fret. Just because that box isn’t ticked, you don’t need to settle for cheap and low-quality alternatives. Felted wool is a popular fabrication for tree decorations – think cutesy woodland creatures and fluffy foodstuffs – and if cared for properly, they can be relied upon year after year. Create an entire woodland scene with Felt So Good’s handmade, fairtrade wool products, crafted by artisans in a small village in Nepal. Gisela Graham also handcrafts quirky characters to hang on your tree, from friendly gnomes to well-dressed cats. We recommend wrapping yours in tissue paper before stashing them away post-Christmas.
When selecting glass ornaments, it’s well worth spending slightly more on a heavy-duty glass that won’t shatter within moments of hanging it on your tree.
If you’re someone who delights in stacking impeccably-wrapped presents under the tree and spending weeks admiring the display, get ready to fall for our dazzling gift-wrap selection. Second to using newspaper or last year’s wrapping paper, Furoshiki wrapping is undeniably the most ecological approach; not only are many of the textiles we carry recycled and hand-dyed, but you can give them a whole new lease of life year after year. Being fabric, they last much longer than standard wrapping paper.
When it comes to adding that final flourish, fashion a bow from recycled ribbon or attach pine cones and winter foliage foraged from your local florist. We bet visitors and giftees will feel inspired and want to recreate the beautiful bundle of presents at the base of your tree.