From gift wrapping to the set table, the ultimate Must-Do List to get ready for Christmas

Christmas is a time of giving, that much is true. But for many of us, this time of year is also associated with overconsumption – whether that be last minute panic-purchased presents or your third helping of Christmas pudding. In the UK alone, 83 square km of wrapping paper was expected to be thrown away in 2019, while around 6 million trees end up in landfill. The good news is, we’re becoming more conscious of the vast amount of waste associated with the holiday season, which has led to a resurgence in DIY, and sustainable alternatives to almost everything in your Christmas shopping basket. It is possible to have a more eco-friendly festive season by being considered, prepared, and creative.

Christmas sustainable wrapping ideas

A 2017 survey by FlyResearch for Sky Ocean Rescue found that 84% of Britons were concerned about the amount of plastic packaging that wrapped their Christmas gifts. It’s easy to see why – everywhere you look, plastic can be found – from tape, shiny wrapping paper, ribbons and bows, glittery greeting cards, the list is endless. The good news is, there are plenty of plastic-free alternatives to wrap your gifts this year.


  • Opt for reusable wrapping options like drawstring cloth bags
  • Throughout the year, save up tissue paper, gift bags, ribbons and bows to reuse at Christmas
  • Rummage through your local thrift shop for silk scarves, tea towels, or colourful bolts of fabric to wrap your gifts using a traditional Japanese wrapping technique called Furoshiki
  • Upcycle and decorate old newspaper, cardboard boxes and delivery boxes
  • Try out this easy tape-free gift wrapping trick or invest in biodegradable plastic-free tape
  • Invest in reusable gift wrap from companies like these from Wearth London, FabRap or WragWrap that are beautifully printed, environmentally friendly cloth wraps you can use for years to come
  • Swap ribbons and bows for twine and a sprig of rosemary, dried orange rings, small pinecones, or a cutting from your Christmas tree – the results will be charmingly rustic
  • Gift an experience, rather than an object. No wrapping required!

Sustainable table decorations for Christmas

Decorating the house for Christmas is a big part of getting into the festive spirit. Many of our favourite flourishes are made from plastic – tinsel, baubles, lights, wreaths and artificial trees can break easily or shed tiny pieces of plastic that contribute to microplastic pollution. When you buy decorations, consider them an investment that you plan to keep for years to come, so opt for the best quality you can afford. If you’re thinking about sustainable ideas for your table decorations, here’s how to get creative.


  • Most thrift stores have a homeware section, where you can find candlestick holders, table cloths, vases and other decorations to dress your table for Christmas dinner
  • Create a natural centrepiece using leafy branches foraged from local trees, holly sprigs, pine cones, herbs like rosemary, and twigs
  • Give the table a Christmas scented decoration by scattering cinnamon sticks, dried fruit, or seasonal flowers
  • Edible decorations will keep everyone happy while waiting for dinner, so why not put extra thought into your nibbles board to make it a spectacular edible centrepiece?
  • Get crafty and learn to DIY stars from old pieces of paper here
  • Candles are a great zero-waste decoration, so long as you choose soy wax or beeswax, which are better for your health. You can even customize plain white candles with a Christmas makeover – check out this tutorial
  • DIY your Christmas wreath using this great tutorial using natural, biodegradable materials and a wire frame that you can reuse for years to come.

Author: Megan Doyle