By Elly Hill

Let’s get real, hauling garbage bags full of torn gift wrap, Christmas ribbons, leftover food and packaging down to the bin post Christmas dinner is not cool. What are we doing?! Henceforth, our tips on how to have a waste free Christmas:

P.S If you haven’t read the first and second installment in our Christmas Survival Guide series, read here and here.

See our Pinterest board for this and other savvy DIY xmas deco ideas. The georgeous image above is courtesy of ‘The Sweet Escape’: 

1. Swap Christmas cards for a phone call or fun e-card

Normally send out Christmas cards? Give everyone a friendly phone call instead, or send them a personalized text on Christmas day. Better yet, send out one of these way fun e-cards. Explain to your friends and family the reason for not following the usual traditions and you might even inspire them to follow suit.

2. These DIY Advent calendars are 9845054836838 times better than any store bought one

Peruse our Pinterest board for some whopping great ideas for DIY calendars. Beats those gritty ‘chocolate’ filled cardboard box things any day.

3. Plan your Christmas meal for minimal packaging and maximum leftovers potential

We all know how easy it is to overindulge during the holidays and that’s partly put down to there just being too much food! Plan your Christmas meals carefully: do a head count, serve up sensible portions and decide on what to serve based on what will keep well as leftovers – or what you can reinvent as a different meal the next day. Check out these great BBC recipes to revamp the leftover Christmas lunch.

4. Go easy on the decorations

Nope, you don’t need more tinsel.

5. Try these awesome alternatives for gift wrapping

Check out our Pinterest board for some amazingly pretty alternatives to traditional wrapping paper using cloth, scarves, newspapers or last year’s calendars… the ideas are endless. And if you absolutely positively cannot do without using brand new wrapping paper, make sure it’s the stuff that can be recycled easily (that is, none of those shiny foils or plastic bits).

6. Mulch your live Christmas tree

Got yourself a live Christmas tree? Check with your local council to see if they offer a special mulching service for live Christmas trees, or take it to the garden section of your local recycling facility.

7. Don’t forget the little (big) things (shopping bags and plastic plates)

When the silly season hits, it’s easy to let your usual wonderful sustainable habits slip. Don’t forget the green bags when it comes to battling the crowds at the shopping centre and make sure you have plenty of reusable storage containers for post-Christmas lunch (and if you don’t have enough you can send Santa this link here!). When catering for large families, it’s often tempting to bust out the plastic plates and cups to save on dishes, but we promise the planet will thank you for it if you make the effort to skip the disposable stuff and embrace the dishwashing gloves instead.