Guide to a Green Christmas 2023

Here are some ideas to keep Christmas festive with eco-friendly and sustainable choices for your gift-buying, cards and wrapping, Christmas decorations and lights, food and Christmas jumpers!

Sustainable Gift-Buying

Giving and receiving gifts is the highlight of many people’s year but many of us end up stuff we don’t actually need. So here are some thoughtful gift ideas from local eco shops and artisans:

Homemade festive treats

Delicious sweet or savoury festive specials from Colline’s Kitchen (as well as their popular treat boxes, business lunches and Buddha Bowls). 
 
Order online by 20 December for delivery within 20 miles of Newbury up to 24 December. Or collect from Newbury Town Centre.
 

Eco gifts for all the family

Enjoy festive foods like mejool dates, nut mix and dried cranberries – make your own organic Christmas Cake, we have all the ingredients. Choose from a wide range of botanical skincare products, luxurious soaps, scents and candles. Save some nice jars and fill them with delicious treats to make your own unique presents and stocking fillers, or choose from a wide selection of chocolate to suit every kind of chocoholic.
 

Local gourmet mushrooms & grow kits

Based in East Grafton we specialise in producing the finest quality gourmet and functional mushrooms and grow your own kits. Our mushroom growing kits are an excellent gift idea, providing an easy, quick growing mushroom experience. Great stocking fillers include flavour boosting mushroom powder and seasoning mix as well as health boosting mushroom supplements and herbal mushroom tea. 

Order online for quick delivery or free local collection.

mushroomculture.co.uk (near Marlborough)

Ethical stocking fillers, unusual gifts and cards

From ethical chocolate and upcycled Christmas decorations to pretty water bottles and quality teas, Going Green offers unusual gifts for all ages.

We also stock lots of ingredients for your festive cooking and sell convenient Christmas Cake and Pudding kits with all the ingredients pre-measured so there is no waste. 

Going Green zero waste shop (Wantage). 

Wessex Negroni & Martini Collections

The Best of Wessex based in Wiltshire has now produced two sets of miniatures of their famous ready-to-drink cocktails.

The Wessex Negroni and The Wessex Martini both feature four different variations of each cocktail.

A wonderful present for people who appreciate their cocktails. Or give yourself a treat!

Order online from thebestofwessex.co.uk for home delivery.
Thatcham Refillable

Thatcham Refillable Gift Sets & Vouchers

A perfect gift to get somebody started on their sustainable journey.

Our mobile shop pops up all over West Berks to supply refillable bodycare and cleaning products, as well as plastic free household items. Or you can make an appointment to refill at our home in Thatcham!
 

Easy Rider Jewellery

From her workshop in Kintbury, Freia Adams Tee offers unique, hand-crafted jewellery using new and old materials which she brings back to life.

She adapts traditional items like horse brasses and upcycles industrial components and clients’ momentos to create stunning pieces of contemporary jewellery.

Visit Easy Rider Jewellery website here.

Swift Town Hungerford

Swift boxes

Swifts are critically losing their nesting sites as people refurbish their houses. So swift boxes and swift bricks can really help and make great presents. There is a bit of a knack to positioning them appropriately so see advice and recommended suppliers from Swift Town Hungerford.

Beautiful hand-painted kitchenware

White stoneware dishes, bowls, mugs, jugs and teapots. Hilary Reem specialises in animal and plant designs including hares, horses, hens, fish and flowers. She is also happy to customise a dish with bespoke lettering or wording eg for a special birthday or wedding anniversary.

East Garston Pottery

Here are some more gift ideas (including low-carbon experiences and pampers):

• Pamper at Natura Spa Gift Voucher.
• Adventurous Escape Room experience Gift Voucher.
Christmas Gift Fairs & Creative Workshops at City Arts Newbury
 Handmade natural chocolates & workshop gift vouchers from Amy Levin in Marlborough
Pure Make-Up & Beauty Gift Voucher for the ultimate pamper.
Gift vouchers & silver & jewellery workshops with Loucinda Nims in Lambourn
• Shop for wildlife at our local BBOWT wildlife trust’s online gift shop.
• Ethical meat and gifts from Helen Browning’s Royal Oak in Bishopstone.
• Donation to an environmental group eg Friends of the Earth or ClientEarth

And if you are giving a battery-operated item why not included recyclable batteries and a charger?

Cards & Wrapping Paper

Print Image Studio has a lovely range of Christmas cards and calendars available to order on Etsy or from their office in Marlborough.

Proudly designed and sustainably printed with vegetable inks in our family workshop on 325gsm thick uncoated EcoLabel awarded card from sustainably managed forests. Easy to write on, no matter what pen you use.

 Avoid cards or wrapping paper that are metallic, glittery, shiny, textured or have any decorations attached because they are not recyclable. If wrapping paper stays in a ball if you scrunch it, then it is probably recyclable. 

 You could even recycle pretty magazine pages as gift wrap and tie it with string or ribbon that can be reused. Or recycle gift wrap from previous gifts you have received.

 Why not buy or make your own wrapping fabric that can be reused? Here is a youtube tutorial on making your own eco wrapping.

 If you receive non-recyclable cards, you can still cut them up to make gift tags for next year and local charities often collect stamps (comment below if you have stamps and Penny will collect).

Trees, Decorations & Lights

Choose your own locally grown organic tree from Eastbury near Lambourn. Freshly cut, they will last much longer than a supermarket or garden centre tree.

NORDMAN FIR – £30 for any size

BLUE SPRUCE – £40 for any size (bushier trees now up to 6ft high)
 
Please support local!

Try making your own Christmas decorations from recycled or natural materials. The Woodland Trust has great ideas for foraging for natural decorations.

Check out these top tips for safe and green Christmas tree lights.

Find your local recycling point for your Christmas trees (some councils will collect them even if you haven’t paid to have your green bin collected). 

Christmas Jumpers

A shocking number of Christmas jumpers are bought and only worn once. They are easy to pick up in charity shops or you can swap them with a friend before participating in Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day or Sebastian’s Action Trust’s Christmas Jumper Day both on Thursday 7 December 2023.

 

Festive Food

Did you know 70% of food waste comes from the home and tonnes of food is wasted at Christmas? Try not to be seduced by supermarket offers and only buy what you will actually eat. Lovefoodhatewaste has published the Ultimate Guide to Christmas food planning to help you enjoy a feast without wasting too much and for the leftovers you do have, see tips below on how to use them up.

We know we should be eating less meat but Christmas is a traditional time to splurge and there are eco choices you can make.

Venison

Instead of beef, why not try local venison this Christmas? Low fat, free range with low food miles it is an ethical and healthy choice for you and the environment as deer enjoy a natural life and do not require feed or medication. We have more deer in the UK than ever before and their foraging does serious damage to woodlands (see this article in the Daily Mail). Order a delivery of local venison from Juliette at Savernake Game.

Smoked Trout

Instead of farmed smoked salmon, why not treat your family to equally tasty delicacies from Berkshire Trout which operates very high welfare fish farming on the River Dunn in Hungerford. Free local delivery on Christmas Hampers, fillets, paté and smoked trout. 

Veggie Christmas Dinner

If you have gone veggie here are some ideas for festive Christmas dishes:

Festive Vegan Roast Dinners

Christmas Nut Roast with mushroom gravy

Sweet Treets

Try making these Sweet Potato Mincepies (recipe from Kate at Blackberry Cottage).

Leftovers 

First of all, think about how much food you buy over the Christmas. Make a list and try to resist the supermarket offers (the fewer chocolates and nuts around, the fewer pounds to lose in the New Year…). 

Check your dates – Make sure you know the use by dates on the food you’ve bought. If you aren’t going to eat it in time, check to see if you can freeze it.

Keep your fridge cool between 0-5 degrees centigrade, this can help make your food last for longer.

Love Food Hate Waste have lots of excellent advice to help you make the most of your food!

Here are some inspiring leftover recipes to get you started.  

And did you know that you can freeze wine? Click here for tips including freezing wine in an ice-cube tray for cooking or making sangria. Freezing can affect the flavour so you might not want to drink it straight.

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