Christmas is all about extravagance. Fabulous food, gorgeous gifts, decadent decorations – it really is the most wonderful time of the year.

But, in amongst all the mulled wine and mince pies, have you ever taken a moment to think about its environmental impact of the season? After the latest series of Blue Planet, we’re all feeling a little more eco-conscious, and it’s got us thinking – your Christmas tree doesn’t have to be the only green thing in your home this Christmas.

There are lots of simple steps you can take to make the festivities environmentally friendly. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Go for a real tree if you can

A real tree not only smells fantastic, but it’s totally recyclable – unlike a fake tree. If you do buy a fake tree, go for  one you know you’ll use year after year to get your money’s worth, and avoid unnecessary waste.

Avoid shiny gift wrap

When you’re wrapping presents this year, shy away from sparkly, plastic-y wrapping paper – this can’t be recycled. Instead, look out for recyclable wrap, or get creative and make your own by decorating brown paper. Or, if you’re feeling super green, look into reusable fabric wrap, like this from Happy Wrap.

Get composting

With all that Christmas dinner prep, make sure you recycling your veggie peelings and dinner scraps, or get composting – you’ll have lots of great compost for spring in no time!

Shop smart

Speaking of Christmas dinner, remember to control yourself when you join the masses in the supermarket on Christmas Eve. S0 much food goes to waste at Christmas, so try not to over-shop and end up with a bin full of uneaten food.

Don’t buy gifts for the sake of it

We’ve all done it. Bought a ‘joke’ present which we know won’t go down well, and will likely be on its way to landfill by Boxing Day. Rather than spending on something daft that’ll get binned, go for restaurant vouchers or a book.

Shop local

Reduce your carbon foot print and support a local business at the same time by buying your gifts from local suppliers. Local gifts are much better for the environment – and your cash is going to real people, not faceless corporations.

Ditch the tinsel

Tinsel might look fun, but it’s impossible to recycle. So don’t buy a new lot this year – what about ribbons made from natural fibres, paper garlands or good old-fashioned strings of popcorn?

Goodbye glitter

Christmas and glitter go hand in hand – but did you know that the sparkly stuff is rubbish for the environment? It’s not good for sea life – so if you have to have a bit of twinkle in your celebrations, shop around for a biodegradable alternative.

Light up

If you need new lights for your tree, LEDs are miles better – they use 95% less energy than traditional bulbs. Good for the environment AND your electricity bill.

Having a green Christmas doesn’t have to break the bank – it just takes a few simple swaps and the world will be a much happier place. So put a bit of thought into your Christmas prep this year.

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