Can christmas be plastic-free and fun?

I confess I am a big fan of Christmas. Yes, my tree is up and house is decorated promptly on December 1st. Christmas cards are sent in the first week, Christmas music is playing on a constant loop and my Christmas jumper makes regular appearances.

All year I’ve been challenged to cut the amount of plastic I’m using. So when the festive season came around I wanted to carry on, without losing any of the Christmas fun. At first I was worried about dropping shiny wrapping paper, glitter, advent calendars – sounds like a sad time to me! But I was surprised at how much FUN it was to get creative.  

So here are my top 7 ways to reduce your plastic. If they seem a little overwhelming try choosing three as a starter.


Who doesn’t love a beautifully wrapped present. This year why not combine your wrapping paper with a bit of holly or reuse a bit of ribbon instead of plastic bows. The shinier the wrapping paper, the less likely it is to be recyclable. One of my colleagues uses old newspaper to wrap presents, and picks a news story that is connected to the person he’s giving the gift to – very creative!


This is a lot of fun – for the chefs (or aspirational cooks) out there, why not make your own mince pies and save the layers of plastic packaging from shop bought ones. Baking Guru Tom Herbert shared his mince pie recipe here. You could even challenge your friends to a mince pie bake-off!


How much better does the house look when it’s decorated for Christmas?! This year why not choose paper or wooden decorations instead of any new plastic? Sheet music makes for beautiful decoration, colour-themed paper chains are not just for kids and paper baubles look fab on the tree.


I’ve always found the plastic to chocolate ratio in an advent calendar frustrating! I want MORE daily chocolate and LESS plastic! This one’s a little late for 2017, but next year you can invest in a wooden / fabric advent calendar and refill it each year with chocolates, treats, drinks, fruit and surprises. You can make your own, or buy one in.


I know it’s easier to use plastic plates and cutlery when you throw a Christmas party, but why not ask people to bring some plates round, and all share the washing up? Also, plastic straws give you 20 minutes of use and take centuries to biodegrade so think before you use!


So much plastic gets given as gifts. Could we think really creatively about our gifts? Are there bamboo versions of the fruit bowl you want to get for your gran or wooden toys you could buy for any kids in the family?


A Christmas tradition at many Christmas dinners, but really how long can you keep a plastic fish that tells you how you feel? Instead why not buy some cracker gifts that don’t wind up in the bin later that day. The money you save on mince pies and starters can help buy these classy crackers. You could even go one better and buy refillable ones with new ‘snaps’.  

Join More articles