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Green Christmas

Making Christmas in Congleton a bit more Eco-Friendly!

Christmas is a fabulous time of year, but also a time of excess! Many of us will eat too much, spend too much, gain lots more ‘stuff’ that we don’t need and create waste. Christmas takes its toll on the environment as well as on our bodies and bank balances.

With a bit of thought and effort you can have just as much festive fun, but in a more eco-friendly way. Here’s some tips for a more environmentally friendly Christmas in Congleton.

Many of the tips in our Sustainable Living in Congleton eLearning course apply to the festive season too.

Christmas Trees

Although artificial trees are re-usable, they do use resources to manufacture and transport. Real trees are preferable as the eco-friendly option. A potted tree is even better! Real trees can be recycled – you can either chop and place in your green bin, or East Cheshire Hospice Tree appeal will collect for a donation and recycle them.


Reuse last year’s decorations or look out for pre-loved decorations in local charity shops. Look out for decorations using natural materials. Twigs that have been sprayed look great for displaying decorations.

Get Crafty with Cards and Wrappings

Re-use wrapping paper, use recycled brown paper and decorate or make your own from magazines! Avoid foil style and glittery paper that can’t be recycled. Write the name and sender on the present, or make labels from last year’s cards.  Make an effort to call those people that you haven’t contacted for a year, or send an e-card. If purchasing cards make sure they can be recycled.

Thoughtful Presents

Think about things that friends and family want or need this Christmas. Maybe arrange a secret santa system so that people get one quality present rather than lots of smaller presents. Shop local where possible to support your local community and find out about ethical gifts sold in local shops. Also check out Congleton’s Charity shops – Oxfam, North West Air Ambulance, Cancer Research, Hospital League of Friends, YMCA, Mencap and Banardos – which often have lots of pre-loved goods. The antiques centre at Victoria Mill is also packed full of pre-loved unusual gifts that is worth checking.

Gifts for You!

If you know that you really don’t want or need any more ‘stuff’ this year, tell family and friends what you would like them to do instead.  “I really don’t need/ want anything” line won’t help as they will want to recognise you at Christmas. Do you have a favourite charity? Do you want vouchers to grow something in the spring? Is there an activity or experience that you can have together in the year? Let people know!


Make sure your Christmas lights have LED bulbs and place them on a timer. Switch off appliances in empty rooms. No need to leave the TV if everyone has left the room! Could you purchase gifts that will help friends and family to reduce their electricity costs? For more ideas, you could complete the Sustainable Living in Congleton Energy module.

Menu Plan

Many of us over-purchase food and drink at Christmas. This either results in a lot of food waste or over indulging to prevent food waste! Top tips

  • menu plan and write a list of everything that you need!
  • choose products that are in season locally to avoid unnecessary food miles
  • check use by and best before dates when purchasing – sometimes in a hurry at Christmas you get home and realise everything is use by the 23/12 when you want it for the 26 or 27!
  • Make space in the freezer for leftovers.

Have a look at the BBC’s Green Christmas Food Guide, or why not check out our Sustainable Food section.

Spread the Word!

If you do have a more eco-friendly Christmas be proud of it and tell people about it! You may inspire them to make changes for next year! Share tips on being more eco-friendly using #CongletonGreen.

Further Reading

Lots of organisations offer advice for a more sustainable Christmas. Try these

WWF: top tips for sustainable Christmas

Soil Association: 10 ways to have a more sustainable Christmas

Country Living: 18 eco-Christmas ideas

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Last updated: 17th November 2022

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