\r\nThe idea of having an eco-friendly Christmas is a bit of an odd one, being as Christmas has become so focused on consumption; be it of food, clothes, toys, technology and of course, lots of plastic.\r\nBut there are some easy ways to lessen your impact, without giving up too much of the delights of the season.\r\n1. Go meat free. I started with the hardest for most people on the list, but the one with the biggest impact. Giving up meat lowers your carbon footprint by between 30-50% (depending on which source you believe.) Christmas can be just as delicious without meat; try visiting Jamie Oliver’s vegetarian Christmas for loads of easy peasy recipes - http:\/\/bit.ly\/2gWpUT3 \r\nJamie Oliver's Persian Squash \u0026amp; Pistachio Roast\r\n2. Don’t buy stuff for the sake of it. I adore Christmas and two of my favourite bits are advent calendars \u0026amp; stockings. More often than not, these are full of cheap chocolate (packed full of palm oil), rubbishy plastic bits and pieces and trinket-y things that have no practical use but look cute (I’m looking at you, owl statuettes.) Just stop it. If you want to do an advent calendar, or a stocking, or both, great! But put some thought into the stuff you pack it with. Find stuff that has been made responsibly, that the recipient will use and enjoy. And if you can’t think of anything that fits at least one of those criteria, skip it.\r\n\r\n3. Think outside the wrapping paper roll. Reuse last year’s paper. Use newspaper. Use pages of books (although I don’t advocate ripping books up). Random pieces of fabric you have left over from the time you thought you could sew yourself a dress. The possibilities are endless and buying a plastic coated roll at Paper Plus is definitely not the best option.\r\n4. Buy local. Rather than spending your hard-earned cash on mass manufactured stuff that was probably produced by people paid a pittance, support local crafters. Felt \u0026amp; Etsy are both fantastic websites dedicated to just that. Lots of markets and fairs pop up this time of year and have wonderful, one-of-a-kind stuff, from jewellery to clothes, toys to pottery and heaps more.\r\n5. Make something. Next year (when we are in our fancy new manufacturing premises), we will be offering classes where people can come in and make bespoke products for themselves or for gifts. But in the meantime, why not make something else? There are classes out there in floristry, pottery, soap making, painting and heaps more.\r\n6. Stop sending cards. They are mass made rubbish which few people still appreciate which uses precious resources simply to be binned a couple of days later. Paper making is not eco-friendly, and most cards never end up being recycled. There are so many ways to send hilarious e-cards now, why would you bother with the real thing?!\r\n7. Give an experience. How much cooler is a day of rafting than yet another pair of shoes?\r\n8. Good news for lovers of that pine smell, it’s vastly more environmentally friendly to have a real tree than a plastic imitation. Fake trees are made with metals and plastic (usually PVC), use a lot of energy to produce and ship around the world, and of course, once they are made, they are here to stay, despite only being used an average of six times. Get a real tree. In the Ethique office we have a mini potted Christmas tree, oddly enough called Naseby (Margot named him.) He’s much nicer than a plastic one would ever be, tiny or not.\r\n9. If someone is really, really hard to buy for, why put yourself through the torture? Buy them a gift from somewhere like Oxfam, where the real gift is for someone else. You can help pay for a well to be built in Sri Lanka, or for someone to figure out a way to deliver clean water in Papua New Guinea. You can help a child stay in school or provide a family with a solar powered light. You get to feel smug about doing something great for someone else and look like a saint on Christmas day.\r\nHead over to Oxfam for a range of great Xmas presents with meaning\r\n10. This one bears repeating. Stop. Buying. Shit. I look at pictures of my Christmases when I was a kid and you can’t see most of the tree for presents. I loved it back then (and a small part of me would still love it now), but it’s so unnecessary. Buy gifts that are good quality, built to last and something that is actually useful, or at minimum decorative. We need to stop buying things at such a cost, that we don’t mind throwing them away three months later with minimal use.\r\nIf the list is daunting, just pick five. Even then you will be having far less of an impact than if you hadn’t changed anything at all and that is all it takes.