Reusable Christmas Cracker

How to have a luxurious eco-friendly Christmas on a budget.

Christmas can be a really expensive time of year. But by making these simple swaps you can have a luxurious Christmas on a budget. At the end of it all there will be a lot less to throw in the bin, which is much better for the environment.

Sustainable gift wrap course

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Join my Zero Waste Christmas Facebook group

I have started up a Facebook group, where people can share ideas about how to have a zero waste Christmas. You are welcome to post pictures of things you have made,or about your business as long as it is relevant. Come and join it here: Zero Waste Christmas Facebook Group.

Kickstart your Christmas on a budget, by keeping food waste low

Food gives off methane in landfill – a potent greenhouse gas. Reduce food waste in the first place, by avoiding buying more food than needed. It is such a win-win because you get to eat all the same luxury foods you would have done. But you might buy less, which costs less. Or you will make the most of what you have, which gives you the best value out of what you bought.

Do a Christmas meal plan and make a shopping list from that. When you get to the shops (or order online), make sure you stick to the list! If there are leftovers freeze them if possible, to use another time. Also come and join my Reduce Your Food Waste Facebook group community, where you can ask for help if you are stuck on how to use up leftovers. For some general ideas to prevent food waste, check out my round up of use it up ideas.

Buy Eco Friendly festive gifts or make your own eco-friendly budget Christmas presents

If you want to get your friends and family sustainable gifts this year check out my list of sustainable gifts your friends and family will love. I’ve included suggestions for him, her, couples, families, experience gifts, book gifts, kitchen gifts and homemade gifts in there. Plus I also have some suggestions for how to stop unwanted gifts.

Ditch the single use disposable wrapping paper

Swap disposable wrapping paper for reusable and upcycled versions. Wrap gifts in fabric. Or save things from your recycling to wrap gifts in.

If you like a challenge, take the Cut The Wrap challenge and pledge not to use any single use disposable wrapping paper this festive season. If you need some help with this, check out my beautiful eco-friendly ways to wrap up gifts. Also if you want some more in depth information come and sign up to my Sustainable Gift Wrapping Online Course.

Swap Christmas cards for e-cards and other alternatives

Instead of sending cards this year, speak to friends and family and wish them well in person. Other options include sending e-cards and/ or telling friends and family that instead of sending cards this year you are going to make a donation to charity.

In Mike Berners Lee’s book How Bad Are Bananas – the carbon cost of everything, he says that an email costs between 0.2g and 26g of CO2e (Carbon Dioxide Equivalent). Whereas a letter costs between 280g and 350g CO2e. You can significantly lower your carbon impact by sending e-cards over real ones! To make your e-card free, design a Christmas card in Canva (you can get a free account) and share the picture in your email.

Make your own budget Christmas Advent calendar

Make an inexpensive and fun advent calendar with some clean socks or small bags on a line with numbers pinned on them. Fill with a small gift of your choice e.g. a coin, a love note, or a chocolate. If you want to make your own fillers, this homemade condensed milk fudge is delicious. Wrap them up in little swatches of sterilised fabric (and save for next time afterwards). Or put them in small jam jars or pots.

Consider the Christmas tree options

A Christmas tree doesn’t have to be an actual tree. It could be a large houseplant that you decorate once a year or a wall hanging you put up for Christmas each year. You can even get creative with this and make something like this upcycled pallet Christmas tree.

If you want to get an actual tree, it has been concluded that a real tree is better for the environment than a fake tree.

Dispose of real Christmas trees properly

If you buy a real tree, make sure that it gets recycled afterwards. This is because in landfill it can give off methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide.

Use reusable Christmas crackers

Instead of having disposable Christmas crackers, you can opt out. Alternatively buy or make some reusable crackers and stuff them with your own less wasteful gifts.

I was sent some reusable Christmas crackers by Keep this Cracker to review and I have some to giveaway (see the bottom of this article). They come flat packed and in two parts, with snaps that you add in. Because they are in two parts, when you pull them apart, the only thing that breaks is the snap. They aren’t cheap, but should last a few years.

You do need to add in your own fillings, but there are loads of festive jokes online you could use. Either leave out the hats, or have reusable ones outside of the crackers. As for the gifts, it depends on your budget. Something like these pill/ money keyrings could be good. I have one and keep a rolled up £10 note in it. So, if I go out and I’ve forgotten my wallet, I still have some money on my keys. Whatever you choose, they will probably be better than the gifts that usually come in crackers!

An easy win for Christmas on a budget – stop buying a new Christmas jumper every year

Instead of buying a Christmas jumper every year for yourself and / or your kids, get Christmas decorations that can be reused each year on your regular jumpers.  For example these Christmas brooches would work and would make great stocking or Christmas cracker fillings too. If you have kids and you don’t want them to have brooches, instead you could buy sew on motifs. Don’t iron them on, just sew them on. This allows you to unpick them and reuse them on a different top the year after (in case they outgrow the original one).

If you don’t like the above idea, you could buy a jumper in a charity shop / secondhand. Then wear it throughout the Christmas season and every year afterwards until it wears out. The final option of course is to simply opt out.

Do a Christmas clothes swap

One of the items in your Christmas budget, might be new clothes. Swap buying new clothes for Christmas get togethers for buying secondhand clothes. Or if you are able to get together in person, do a clothes swap with friends for a wardrobe refresh.

Try a vegan or vegetarian Christmas dinner

Vegan food has gone mainstream. There are many vegan alternatives available in supermarkets and restaurants now, which taste really good. Instead of having a turkey dinner at every event you get invited to, why not give the vegan or vegetarian option a try. 

Ask guests to bring a dish

If you are having people over for a meal (and we are able to), instead of doing everything yourself, ask guests to make part of the meal. You could do a pot luck or ask for something specific (tip: check that the person you ask is happy to bring that item first!). When I’ve done this in the past, I’ve asked people not to bring other things like flowers and chocolates and to bring a dish instead. This will really help with your Christmas on a budget and makes life much easier if you are a host!

Borrow furniture, crockery and glasses

Would you like to invite more people over than you have seats, cutlery, crockery and glasses for? You don’t need to go out and buy these things. Ask guests to bring them with. They have some folding or camping chairs they could bring for example.

Another tip is to buy the items you need secondhand and sell them on afterwards, or to give them to charity. This is useful if you don’t have space to store them throughout the year.

So many ways to have a luxurious and eco-friendly Christmas on a budget!

As you can see there are lots of ways you can save money at Christmas time. It is also better for the environment. Once you get into the swing of it, you will find that you aren’t missing out on anything. You are just doing things a bit differently. You might even find that you can have an even better Christmas. This is because you don’t need more money, just different ideas, to get all the furniture, clothes, food and decorations you want at this time of year!

Christmas on a budget