Whether you're sustainably savvy or not, there are plenty of small, simple changes you can make to the way you spend the holidays that can be game-changing—for both your family and the planet.
Here, we collate some tips and tricks to make Christmas a little more sustainable in the areas that generally create the most waste.
There are the few of us who take great pleasure in wrapping presents (perhaps, more so than actually shopping for them?) but with Australians set to use more than 150,000km of wrapping around Christmas (most of which is not recyclable), perhaps it's time to look to more sustainable alternatives?
Some of our favourite ways to still ensure a chic gift is to wrap them up in thrifted silk scarves and fabrics, or simply wrapping them up nicely in some newspaper or recycled brown paper for a rustic look.
If you're anything like us, then the food at Christmas is truly the pièce de résistance of the holidays (and of course, spending time with family...). But before gorging on prawns and heavenly home-cooked meals, try to consider what is being made and what will be left over. While weeks worth of leftovers can be a huge bonus, some foods just don't keep too long and Australians reportedly discard over 25% of their food during the festive period, so try to plan your meals wisely and make less of what won't last.
Where you're getting your food matters, too. Shop local to support struggling businesses, and try to buy things in bulk if you know you'll be using a lot of it, therefore leaving you (and the planet) with less packaging.
It also goes without saying that we should also be ditching the plastic utensils and plates. They may make cleaning up a breeze, but they're a detriment to the environment.
This is actually the easy part.
With so many of our favourite brands like Stella McCartney and Gucci committing to more sustainable practices, the world of sustainable gift giving is only too easy. Whether they're interests lean more towards sustainability or not, you'll find plenty of options.
An option to keep in mind is always the second-hand route. Your friends and family are getting a one-of-a-kind gift that promotes upcycling and saves you some precious dollars, a win-win-win? Plus, with sites like TheRealReal and Vestaire Collective circulating good quality designer goods, second-hand no longer needs to compromise with style.
So much joy can come from Christmas decorations themselves, but this is the source of a lot of wastage.
Consider switching to LED lights that use less energy, and cut down on plastic decorations, tinsel and baubles that break easily and end up in landfill forever.
Instead, swap it for biodegradable materials like paper and wood. Paper tinsel not only exists but can be easily personalised with a bit of creativity.
While cards can range between the standard 'Merry Christmas' from your company's CEO to the more personal ones you give to your loved ones, there's a lot of them that end up in the bin come the new year. And while no one judges you for not wanting to hang onto your high school boyfriend's mum's card, the waste adds up.
Instead of purchasing some plastic glitter-laden cards from the store, why not invest in something a little more unique, like wooden plaques and tags or even some hand-made cards that feature biodegradable glitter? It's a small but sure-fire way to ensure a more green season.
And if you're not quite DIY-savvy then no sweat, there are plenty of brands that also create eco-friendly cards with gorgeous designs already printed on them.
If you're lucky enough to be able to travel, whether it's for a well-deserved break or to visit family, there are certain luxuries that you can still indulge in while also being mindful about wastage.
Make sure to pack reusable gear like keep-cups and shopping bags for some guilt-free R&R and even try renting bikes where you stay so that you can get a little exercise in while cutting down on fuel consumption.