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How to have an eco-friendly Christmas

'Tis the season to banish waste, tat, all things un-recyclable and go sustainable. Does anyone know where you can buy halos?

It feels like there’s been a big cultural shift  this year where Christmas prep is concerned – family, friends and Muddy readers are all talking about how to plan and shop more mindfully this festive period. Think less of those last-minute panic buys from Amazon and more considered purchases from cool, local shops like those on The Indie Store – and ideally these goodies should be ethically sound and created locally too. We’re not just talking gifts here – it’s all the trimmings, from wrapping paper to festive fromage.

Here’s how you can have a more eco-friendly Christmas and polish your halo while you’re at it (just be careful no one mistakes you for an angel and plonks you atop the tree).

Wrappers’ delight

Hands up who else is desperately seeking wrapping paper that’s not splattered with un-recyclable, microplastic-y glitter? Change is definitely afoot – plenty of supermarkets and shops are eschewing glitter on their paper this year, while Primark are doubling up their paper shopping bags as wrapping paper.

Muddy favourite, Plastic Freedom, has these eco-friendly options (see our interview with fabulous founder Beth Noy here), while Sophia Victoria Joy screen-prints jaunty chevrons onto this recycled paper (above). And how’s this for a dual-purpose genius product?

A fine pine

I always think the Christmas tree graveyard at the council collection point come early January is such a sad sight. All those gorgeous trees, chopped down, spangled up with tinsel for a few weeks and then chucked out. If you’re opting for a real tree instead of an artificial one, then why not choose a potted one that you can replant in Jan? Festive Trees in Hook’s Cross, Herts, Stagsden Trees in West End, Beds and London-based Good Elf all offer potted trees.

Totally crackers

John Lewis announced recently that from next year their crackers won’t contain single-use plastic toys (or cracker tat, as it’s known in our house). We love Nancy & Betty‘s stylish, handmade, fully recyclable crackers (above) which are handmade in Kent.

Eat, drink and be merry

We’re obviously massively spoilt for choice around here when it comes to fantastic food and drink producers so here are just a few of my favourites.

The Wee Vinoteca in Hitchin offers a fabulous selection of local wines, as do Tring Winery (they’ll both be able to advise you on the best choices to pair with your festive feasts, too). Hitting the harder stuff? Black Bridge Distillery in St Albans is our spirit provider of choice, offering gin, vodka and even moonshine.

How about getting all your veg from your local farm shop? I’m lucky enough Smallford Farm Shop within striking distance. You’ll also fine me drooling over the cheese counter at The Little Deli in Hitchin. Speaking of which, I urge you to seek out Bix from Nettlebed Creamery near Henley and the fantastically named Herts-produced Wobbly Bottom goat’s cheese, and give them pride of place on your Christmas cheeseboard.

Deck the halls

Step away from the bargain pack of plastic supermarket baubles made in China and think laterally this year when it comes to glitzing up your interiors. I’ve previously nabbed gorgeous vintage decorations from The Herts & Essex Antiques Centre in Sawbridgeworth, while Home & Colonial in Berkhamsted is five floors’ worth of treats (antiques are by their very nature sustainable, of course, so go to town).

Plastic Freedom

Meanwhile, online store & Keep has oodles of plastic free, paper and felt decorations while Plastic Freedom (above) have some wonderfully inventive options in brass and mango wood. Don’t forget good ol’ Oxfam – I love this little Fairtrade, hand-made felt owl.

Are you aiming for a more sustainable Christmas this year? We’d love to hear your thoughts and tips – comments below, please.

Find more ideas here


2 comments on “How to have an eco-friendly Christmas”

  • Jo Kidd December 13, 2019

    Thank you for all the lovely articles you write over the year. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of them but particularly this one as it is close to our hearts too. We are running a make your own recyclable crackers workshop at Berkhamsted Arts & Crafts (23rd Dec £20) – you just bring the “personal gift” for each one (or use the chocs we will supply). We will be stamping Kraft paper, making snowflakes and poinsettias to decorate them along with twine, string and raffia. We are also running loads of fun courses next year that could be bought as Christmas gifts. Our shop is full of more and more products made in the UK (we do our best) our ribbons are now made from recycled materials, and of course we sell anything to be creative – art, craft, knitting etc… great to get youngsters off their gadgets and stimulate all our brains in a good practical way. Happy Christmas to all of you at Muddystilettos and I hope that next year is as brilliant as the past one… if not more .. Jo at BAC (Berkhamsted Arts & Crafts)

    • December 17, 2019

      Lovely to hear from you Jo, and thanks for your kind comments. Merry Christmas to you too!


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