The Better Guide to a Sustainable Christmas

“The most wonderful time of the year” for many, is unfortunately also the most damaging time of the year for our planet.

What if we told you there was a way to keep the joy of Christmas for you and your loved ones while creating an environment for all life to thrive, that supports plenty of positive Christmases going forward?

The Better Century community have been working on some ideas to double the joy of Christmas, making it better for the world.

This guide has some top tips to tone down the Christmas impact. You can reduce waste around Christmas. Eco-friendly present suggestions are here to help you. The way you decorate your house, tree and table doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Top tips on influencing your family to tone down the Christmas impact

Emphasising Christmas as family time rather than the gimmick and the gifts

  • Baking competitions
  • Movie marathons
  • Family nature-trails (Check out Treasure Trails)

Create gift registries

  • This way you can ensure the gifts you give and receive will not go to waste, and can also opt for sustainable gift options…

Eco-friendly present ideas

Great sites to shop for Christmas Inspiration

  • Arbonne
    • Eco-friendly, vegan, and cruelty free wellness and cosmetic products (400+ products for all ages and both genders)
  • Etsy
  • Good on You
  • We are Earth
  • Funky Soap Shop
    • Encourage people to stop using shampoo and shower gel in bottles
  • A Fine Choice
    • Toothbrushes, soaps, and other great products
  • Finisterre
    • Has tonnes of clothing and accessories which are sustainable
  • Rapanui
    • Buy some really funky t-shirts and other organic cotton clothing products

Ways in which less waste can be generated around the Christmas period


Household in Britain throw away 54 million plates of food during the holiday season.

  • Drop your leftover food to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen
    • Find your local one here
  • Try to be as vegan as possible
  • If meat is not negotiable, make it organic and free-range

Present wrapping

  • Brown paper
  • Boutique newspaper style
  • Decorate with ribbon (bonus points for reusing next year!)
  • Decorate with ink stamps

Christmas cards


The iconic Christmas staple which is unfortunately the root of the problem :wink:

6 million real Christmas trees are thrown away in the UK rather than being recycled.

  • Buy a real Christmas tree from a local, sustainable grower
    • Make sure that it’ Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified
  • Recycle your Christmas tree are your nearest plant recycling centre
  • Get in touch with your local council to organise sending out recyclable bins
  • Tree hire
    • Return it to the garden centre who will put it back in the ground to grow another year!


Try to use a couple of these tips in the lead up to this Christmas and let us know how they go!

Got tips of your own and want to help others?

We’re updating this guide throughout the festive period. If you have ideas to help us improve this guide then reply below and let us know what you think will help make a more sustainable Christmas.

Please share this guide by hitting the :link: symbol below and let your friends know through facebook or twitter.

If you want to be a Christmas Hero then start a new topic and let us know your story. Tag it ‘Better_Christmas’ so we can find all the stories together!

Finally. If you want to be involved in making guides just like this and want to motivate others about how we can make things better for the future. Come and join us at Better Century. We’re currently talking about what New Years Resolutions we should promote!

1 Like

Hi there.

My family have a completely different approach to presents - One of us (usually my daughter) sets up a fundraising page for a charity (or charities) that the family all supports.

Then instead of presents we all give to the charity. (young children are excluded and get presents) Our family like it as

  • no stress on choosing presents that people don’t really want anyway
  • you can give what you can afford
  • no useless presents purchased
  • we all feel really good about it and feel the benefit of being generous and giving gifts

We raise a surprisingly large amount of money (well surprising to me anyway)

Of course this approach isn’t for everyone … but it seems to work in our family (I think this year will be the 4th year)


OI just made these with my 3 year old out of mince pie tin foil bottoms. We got a marker pen out and gave them faces, then threaded them with an old piece of ribbon.

We hung them in my daughters room and she likeable them. I think i’d Be happy enough for these types of things to be on the tree!

BTW they’re angels if you’re having to guess :joy:

1 Like

Christmas Gifts Made with Love for Nature, Family, and Friends

What will the package be made of?

  • Recyclable Paper

  • Varies types of threads

  • Dried plants and fruits

  • Christmas tree branches

  • Homemade glue

How to make homemade glue?


  • 3/4 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

  • 3/4 cup cold water


In a saucepan, stir together the water, corn syrup, and vinegar.

Bring the mixture to a full boil.

In a separate cup, stir the corn starch and cold water to make a smooth mixture.

Slowly stir the corn starch mixture into the boiling corn syrup solution.

Return the glue mixture to a boil and continue cooking 1 minute.

Remove the glue from heat and allow it to cool. Store it in a sealed container.

I hope this is okay to add on here. Here’s a really lovely sustainable idea for a Christmas, birthday or In memorium. Trees! The world needs more of these - right? A gift for a loved one and a gift to the planet in one.