10 ways to have a more sustainable Christmas
Following the COP26 conference in Glasgow in November, climate change is front of mind for so many this winter. More of us than ever before are looking to make truly sustainable changes to protect the planet in our daily lives.
Christmas is a brilliant time to be part of the movement towards a more sustainable future.
From the things we eat and wear, to the places we shop and the gifts we give, there are so many ways we can all help to build a better world.
Finding ways to reduce waste, and showing your support for a nature-friendly food at the dinner table are two ways you can make a big impact this December. Agroecological farming, like organic, offers a simple, trusted way to ensure our food and drink works for wildlife and the climate.
Here are 10 easy things you can do, to help encourage positive change and have a more sustainable Christmas this year:
1. Eat with the seasons
Most of our beloved veg heroes at Christmas, including potatoes, sprouts, carrots, leeks, and parsnips, are all in season throughout the winter.
Opting for seasonal, organic food means supporting the UK’s nature-friendly farmers, who grow using fewer pesticides, on British farms that support diverse wildlife and healthy, living soils - take the pledge to eat more seasonal meals over the festive period this year.
If you're a green-fingered gardener, explore our Seasonal Food guide to learn some top tips on what to sow at this time of year too.
2. Cut back on festive food waste
An estimated 5 million puddings, 2 million turkeys, and 74 million mince pies go to waste each Christmas! This is part of a trend that sees one third of all food produced annually go to waste.
To create a food system that can feed our growing population, whilst reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting natural resources, we must take food waste into account.
Let's make the most of our leftovers and reduce food waste at home this Christmas time. Check out our selection of zero-waste festive recipes, to ensure that your Christmas dinner is the gift that keeps on giving!
3. Give the gift of a Soil Association donation
We are the charity that digs deeper to transform the way we eat, farm, and care for our natural world.
By gifting a Soil Association donation this Christmas, you'll be helping us in our work:
- Supporting farmers to discover nature-friendly solutions
- Putting more good food on the table in schools and hospitals
- And getting in front of Government to demand support for sustainable ways of farming
4. Sign a friend up for an organic veg box
Imagine the sight of a box filled with beautiful veg under the tree this Christmas!
When you gift a friend or family member a veg box subscription, you’ll be signing them up to an amazing community of citizens, farmers and growers who are making sure the way we farm and eat is better for nature and the climate. Find a local box here.
5. Sign up for our online community
Have you registered for our email newsletter? By joining our online community this Christmas, you'll be front of the line to hear about our top tips for sustainable living, and ways to get involved in our lobbying and campaigning work, as we champion a sustainable future of food and farming. Sign up today.
6. Make an informed choice about your Christmas tree
Real vs. fake – the great Christmas tree debate continues!
In our view, a real tree that’s been grown with care is the most sustainable choice for Christmas, but make up your own mind and learn about the benefits here.
If you’re looking for a sustainable Christmas tree that’s been grown using fewer pesticides, your best bet is a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certified, or a Grown In Britain tree. These will have been responsibly managed and grown using a minimal amount of pesticides. Learn more about how you can help protect trees and forests, then take the pledge to opt for a sustainable tree this Christmas.
7. Get creative with your gift-wrap and decorations
It’s estimated that each year in Britain, we throw away enough wrapping paper to circle the globe 9 times! Learning inventive ways to wrap your gifts and decorate your home this year really can make a world of difference!
If you are to use wrapping paper, make sure that the paper you use is FSC certified. And don't forget that tape cannot be recycled. So try and find creative ways to ensure tape isn't used.
8. Support your local independent shops
It’s never been more important to embrace our local indies! Making a pledge to shop at your local indie once a week is a great way to show some love for organic farmers and producers in your area this Christmas.
Pop into your nearest indie to find some amazing seasonal specials, and support your local economy in the process.
9. Rethink your Christmas gifts
Going green over the festive period doesn’t have to mean cutting back on gift-giving. Getting creative with your gifts and spark some joy this Christmas with a zero-waste or sustainable gift.
Can you help a loved one to get growing at home? Have you learned any new skills this year you can give some time to teach them? Why not try making an up-cycled or homemade gift this year?
Other zero waste gift ideas include:
- Gifting an experience - how about a cooking or baking course?
- Adopting an animal
- Gift a charity membership - learn more about Soil Association gift memberships
One other simple way to be eco-friendly with your Christmas presents is to simply buy less. Did you know that there are, on average, about 70 million unwanted Christmas presents bought each year?!
10. Wrap up warm in organic wool and cotton
If you’d like to update your wardrobe this Christmas but are worried about the impact of fast fashion on the environment, make the pledge to opt for organic cotton and wool to ensure that what you're buying is good for the planet.
When produced in a way that works with nature, these are two of the most sustainable materials you can buy.
Organic cotton farmers use natural methods to build healthy soils, save water and combat climate change, and when you see the Soil Association or Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) logo, you can be sure the clothes you're buying are better for the planet, and the people who make them too.
Attending any fancy-dress Christmas parties this year? See if you can source a second hand costume from a charity shop if you're not sure you'll wear your festive attire again! Take the pledge here.
Join our online community this Christmas
If you've enjoyed learning about how to live in more sustainable ways this Christmas, sign up for our regular emails. You'll be first to hear top tips from the organic movement, and to find out about opportunities to get involved in our campaigning work too!Sign up today