Hacks for a Sustainable Christmas


It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year. You can listen to Christmas songs on repeat, watch every sappy Hallmark Christmas move, and eat the fair-trade chocolate decorations from the tree with impunity. It’s the law, and we didn’t make ‘em, but we are willing to enforce them.

So, whilst you enjoy the lead up to Christmas, our in-house sustainability expert, Colin the Panda has gathered his top tips for a sustainable Christmas, so you can do more enjoying and less stressing about ways you can reduce your carbon footprint this December.

Real or plastic Christmas tree?

The jury is still out! At PandaHQ we think a real Christmas tree grown with love and care is the most sustainable option, ‘but wait! The Cheeky Panda is telling us to cut a tree down, that’s not sustainable’ we hear you cry (maybe) – don’t worry, you don’t need to worry about deforestation when purchasing a real Christmas tree, this is because they are grown as a horticultural crop and aren’t felled from an existing forest. Make sure you’re clued up on how to correctly dispose of your tree once the Christmas season is over. If its potted, think about replanting it and creating a new habitat in your garden for birds and bugs. Many authorities offer a collection service to turn unwanted trees into wood chippings so make sure you check with your local council to see if this is an option for you.

Want to be even more sustainable? Try renting a Christmas tree, this ensures the tree can thrive long after Christmas time. It's widely reported that between six and eight million real Christmas trees head to landfill in the UK ever year. Renting not only helps reduce waste, but it's much better for the trees and environment too.

Festive Food Waste

Christmas food is the best food. Fluffy roast potatoes, nutty stuffing, maple glazed carrots, deep filled mince pies and custard… okay we will stop, BUT you get the gist. So much yum. What’s not so yummy is the fact that an estimated 5 million Christmas puddings and 74 million mince pies goes to waste each year in the UK.

Most Christmas food has a shelf life well beyond Christmas, we won’t tell anyone if you eat that spare Christmas pudding in January, we promise. In addition to this, try and host a zero waste Christmas dinner this year. Here are some recipe ideas to make the most of your Christmas leftovers, great for the planet and your pocket! 

Wrapping Paper

In the UK, we use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper every single year, which averages out to about four rolls of wrapping per household. Contrary to popular belief, not all wrapping paper can be recycled! When shopping for wrapping paper, consider these tips from Recycle Now to ensure your paper can be used again and again. Wrapping paper you can't recycle includes;

  • Paper coated in foil or glitter
  • Paper with sticky tape or decorations such as ribbons or bows
  • Paper that is heavily dyed or laminated

As far as wrapping paper is concerned, the simpler the better. Brown paper is the best followed by plain paper colours that are not shiny.

Preloved Christmas outfit

Are you a dresser-upper on Christmas day, or is it strictly Christmas pj’s only? Whichever you prefer, choose the sustainable option this year and wear what you already own. I’m sure last year's Christmas pj’s will be thankful for the outing.

If you realllllyyy need something different to wear for the annual family photo, try borrowing from a friend or family member, or check out local charity shops and online marketplaces such as Vinted or Depop for a preloved Christmas outfit.

How are you trying to be more sustainable this year? Let us know in the comments below!


  • Susan

    Been reusing previous years cards for gift tags and wrapping paper for years. Resuse all gift bags too. Started to buy paper/washi tape now and never buy wrapping paper in plastic.

    Same artificial Christmas tree we’ve had for about 20yrs, bought in the sale. Haven’t bought a big bit of meat for ages.

    Last year bought a lot of vouchers for people or asked what they wanted or agreed not to swap prezzies to make life easier.

  • Samantha Mahoney


  • Becky

    Leaving animal products off the menu, reusing the artificial tree we’ve had for years, shopping locally for gifts.

  • Jemma James

    This year I’m using old Christmas cards for present tags and wrapping my presents in primark shopping bags @jemjamesx

  • Emmalouise White

    Love this article so many great tips

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