How to have a Sustainable & Mindful Christmas

Never has there been a year like this one where Christmas cheer and spirit is most needed. The holiday season is often criticized for over-consumption, indulgence and excess waste. This need not be the case.

Each of us can practice a more mindful and sustainable Christmas. Here are 10 tips on how you can have a more sustainable and mindful holiday season.

  1. 1. Paper Bags for Gift Wrap

This has been the year for food delivery, at least here in the UAE. Those brown paper bags used to deliver your food can be repurposed for a rustic gift wrap. Cut the bags inside out to wrap & use hemp string to tie the gifts together.

  1. 2. Fabric for Gift Wrap

I love using old white sheets and black abayas to wrap gifts with a big red ribbon. The best thing is the ribbons can be reused over and over again. This can be done with any large fabric.

  1. 3. Shredded paper, receipts, magazines for Basket Décor

We’ve all seen the shredded paper below gift baskets. Instead of buying new shredded paper, shred your own paper, old receipts and magazines to stuff gift basket bottoms.

  1. 4. Foraged sticks & rustic leaves for Basket Décor

 If shredding paper is too much work for you, go for a walk and forage for sticks and rustic leaves as decorations for your gift baskets and bags.

  1. 5. E-Cards

By sending greetings electronically you lower your carbon footprint and save time and money on postage.

  1. 6. Make Your Own Cards 

If you still prefer snail mail greetings, that’s okay! Make your own cards with supplies around the house. We love this list of ideas.

  1. 7. Upcycle your Christmas Cards

Being sustainable and mindful for Christmas shouldn’t just be for when you’re preparing and planning for the holidays, it can be after too! You can repurpose old Christmas cards from previous years. We love these lists of ideas here and here.

  1. 8. DIY Christmas Décor

Organize time with your family and friends to make your own Christmas décor. There are hundreds of fun and easy ways to make your own Christmas decorations simply from a click of a button.

Our personal favourites are coffee filter garland, popcorn garland, personal wraths, and knitted ornaments.

We love this list of easy ornament ideas!

  1. 9. Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree

If you’re based in the GCC like us, perhaps having a real evergreen tree for Christmas may not be the most sustainable. The further you are from regions with indigenous evergreen trees, the larger the carbon footprint it is for that tree to come to you. We recommend being creative and using indigenous houseplants to hang your decorations and place your gifts under.

If that doesn’t cut it for you, using the same fake Christmas tree each year (and even better if you buy it second hand) will go along way in decreasing your carbon footprint.

  1. 10. Food Waste Prevention

Preventing food waste takes planning and a lot of mindfulness. If you are hosting Christmas dinner(s) this year, take note of how many people are attending and plan in advance on how much food is needed. Take count of those who do not eat as much. Stick to a list. Be mindful of those last-minute worries that you won’t have enough food.  Store food properly so none goes to waste prior to meal prep.

Encourage and remind guests to bring Tupperware containers to take food home.  Get creative with leftovers. Make broth with the Turkey bones, sandwiches for lunch, and rainbow casseroles with left over vegetables.

Do you have other tips and ideas? Share them with us in the comments below!

Watch for our next blog on Mindful Giving for Christmas this year.