Is it possible to celebrate Christmas without creating a whole lot of trash? Sure it is, plus it’ll save you money and make your presents, decorations and dinner table look all the more special.

Presents

A row of spice jars

Spices in jars from Gram

A good zero waste present strategy is to give things that can either be grown, eaten, experienced or found secondhand.  Or if you’re handy, handmade.

In the grow category we are totally in love with these hanging Japanese plants created by Flora Linea in Malmö . The plants grow in bound moss, so they don’t even need a pot. True zero waste. 

How about combining eat and handmade and giving jars of biscuits, cilli oil, or make your own spice blend and give it in a reusable jar.

Experiences could simply mean telling someone you’re going to take them for a walk and a picnic. Sometimes the simplest, least expensive things are the most special.

Secondhand finds don’t need to mean you’re being a miser, you can discover some gems in online auctions, antique shops and flea markets – classic items that will last a life time. Also kids toys are great to buy secondhand, since they grow out of things so fast.

Wrapping paper

four images showing a present being wrapped in fabric

All wrapped up in a tea cloth by Brit+Co

Does it really need to be wrapped in a sheath of glossy paper and adorned with a mass of ribbon? Not really, but you still want your gifts to look nice, so go simple. Newspaper, perhaps with a gold potato print star, and a simple string bow, or look in secondhand shops for old fabric ribbon. Alternatively wrap gifts in tea cloths, so the wrapping becomes an extra present. For gift tags cut up last years christmas cards.

The tree – real or artificial?

Close up of pine needles

There’s a lot of debate over the environmental impact of a real vs artificial Christmas trees. Since we live in a place where spruce is grown plentifully, you cut out transport emissions by buying a Scandinavian tree. Artificial trees can be used again and again, but staying away from plastics that are made from non-renewable resources is always good. If you have a real tree make sure you take it to a recycling point after the festive season.

Decorations

Childs hands stappling together a paper chain

Look out for secondhand ornaments and figures that you can add a bit of string or wire to and hang on the tree – it makes for an eclectic look.

Make gingerbread or salt dough cookies to hang on the tree, a great activity to do with kids.

Use old envelopes or paper scraps to make paper chains. Cut into lengths and staple or stick together in interlinked loops.

Parties

pile of plates

It’s so convenient to get in a load of disposable glasses and plates for a Christmas party, but it looks nicer and saves a whole lot of waste to use the real deal. Pick up a miss-matched selection of crockery secondhand and you’ll use it for parties for years to come.

The dinner table

Image left, plate with leaves on, image right grey napkins

Go to the park and collect a few leaves and branches to decorate your table with. Add a few fresh cranberries for colour and sprigs of rosemary and sage for an amazing smell. Invest in cloth napkins instead of paper ones, which can be used again after washing. Or try making your own, you could even cut up an old table cloth.

Happy zero waste Christmas!