Christmas presents in white wrapping with holly

How to have a sustainable Christmas

With end of December fast approaching, it’s only natural our minds are starting to turn to Christmas…and whilst it is one of the most wonderful times of the year, it can also be full of waste and unnecessary packaging!

After attending a really informative talk by Tracey Turton from the University’s Environment team on ‘How to Have a Sustainable Christmas’, I thought I’d share some of the key bits of information I have learnt.

One of the most crucial things Tracey shared was that one change, no matter how big or small, will make a difference. You don’t have to become a ‘perfect’ citizen overnight and throw out all of your Christmas gifts, but incorporating some of these ideas will have a positive impact on the environment around you.

Shop Local

When you are shopping for gifts for loved ones, try and support local businesses instead of turning to the more convenient global stores. Not only will doing so help boost the local economy after a tough year, it will also reduce your carbon footprint as you’re sourcing items locally instead of having them shipped across the globe! This shopping local mindset can also work further than just gifts; why not source your Christmas dinner such as fruit, veg, and meat from local farm shops too? Not only is the produce much fresher and picked from local fields, it’s often cheaper than buying from a big supermarket chain!

If you’re unsure where to start, there a number of collectives in Lincoln set about sharing local businesses, such as @ln1_thecreativecollection on Instagram,, or the Lincoln Makers’ Market.

Give Up the Gift Wrap

Whilst seeing heavily printed or glittery wrapping paper can be appealing, this unfortunately is not a recyclable option and ends up going into landfill. To avoid this, opt for wrapping your gifts in simple brown parcel paper (which is also significantly cheaper!) and embellishing with simple decorations such as twine, ribbon, dried orange slices, or leaves. These look just as pretty and can either be reused or disposed of in a more environmentally friendly way.

Close up of presents under a tree, wrapped in brown paper.

Go Handmade

Whether it’s knitting or painting, making a handmade gift is a brilliant way of showing a loved one you care, and makes a much more sentimental gift! If you’re not naturally crafty, you’ll find lots of brilliant tutorials on sites such as Pinterest, YouTube or even TikTok! Whilst a handmade gift may take a bit longer to create than quickly pressing checkout on a pre-made item, it most certainly will be far more appreciated and valued by your friends and family.

Go Giftless

An arguably controversial idea, but why not avoid gifts all together this year? Or at the least the traditional idea of gift giving, where something physical must be left under the tree. Instead, why not opt for gifting an experience such as afternoon tea, a day out somewhere, or a gift voucher for a local business. This will allow you to not only make great memories by having a shared experience together, but you can also tailor the gift based on your recipients interests, so no chance of a wasted gift getting thrown in the bin!

These are just a few ideas on how you can get started with a sustainable Christmas. However, if you would like some more ideas and inspiration be sure to check out our Environmental team for frequent updates.

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