The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and giving. However, it’s also a season that often sees a spike in consumerism. Over-consumption adds to the climate crisis because the more we buy, the more resources are extracted and climate emissions generated

In this guide, we’ll explore practical and meaningful ways to cut your consumption during the festive season, without losing out on any Christmas cheer.

Mindful gift giving

Think about how you can buy fewer new things as gifts this year. Consider giving experiences instead of physical items, or opt for second hand. Could you even try making something yourself? A thoughtful gift doesn’t have to be an expensive one.

You could also encourage your friends and family to participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange to reduce the quantity of gifts exchanged.

Our friends at Circular Communities Scotland have a handy map to find places to buy pre-loved items near you. 

Don’t buy any new clothes

8 million festive garments get sent to landfill after just one wear. This is terrible for the planet, and for your wallet! 

This year, could you try shopping second hand, or renting something special?

Make some of your own decorations

Instead of buying new decorations every year, embrace the DIY spirit and create your own festive ornaments, wreaths, and centerpieces, using recycled materials or items found in nature, like pinecones, twigs, and dried flowers. Not only does this reduce waste, but it also adds a personal touch to your holiday decor.

Consider what you’re wrapping presents in

Traditional wrapping paper contributes to massive amounts of waste each year. Any paper with glitter or foil can’t be recycled, so instead opt for plain brown paper, old newspaper or decorate your own. When you are unwrapping presents make sure to keep back undamaged paper for next year.

You could also opt for reusable alternatives such as fabric gift wrap or scarves, that can be used again and again.

Thing about food

Minimise your food waste by planning ahead. Portion planning apps can be useful if you are expecting guests. Don’t forget to make a bit of space in your freezer so you can keep any leftovers.

You could also consider incorporating more plant-based dishes into your menu, as the production of meat and dairy has a significant environmental impact. 

Lift share

If you’re travelling across the country to see family and you’re going to an area that’s difficult to get to on public transport, see if you can find people to share the journey with. Places like community Facebook groups are a helpful way to find people.

Sign our circular economy pledge

As individuals, changing our buying habits and rejecting corporate greenwash is a great way to be part of the shift that we need towards more sustainable levels of consumption. 

To make an even bigger impact, we need to push our Government to do more. Get involved in our campaign for a strong circular economy law in Scotland by signing our pledge to take action.

Christmas is about connecting with others, not boosting business sales. This year, let’s take back Christmas for people and the planet.