Christmas is just around the corner and this December we’re thinking of ways to make this time of year more sustainable. This blog, written by Jenny Parkins one of our Ocean Discovery Rangers, is full of handy tips and tricks to make your Christmas as festive and ocean friendly as possible.

1.    Shop Local

An amazing way of reducing our carbon footprint this time of year is by shopping locally. Supporting local businesses is not only more environmentally sustainable, but good for the local economy too! For an easy way to see what’s on offer in your local area, you can use Facebook groups for small businesses in your town or city. This is a great way to browse and discover the many gifts that are on offer, as well as making it easy to contact sellers. If Facebook or online shopping isn’t your thing, try visiting local Christmas markets, or asking your friends and colleagues if they’re making and selling any Christmas gifts this year.

2.    Make/Buy Handmade

If you’re feeling creative this Christmas, don’t be shy to try your hand at a new skill and make some lovely presents yourself! Whether it is crocheting, painting or baking, making some presents for your loved ones can be therapeutic and create a wonderful present that comes from the heart. If you don’t’ fancy making gifts yourself, you can still find amazing handmade gifts from smaller sellers. Websites such as Etsy are fantastic for finding one off items or commission pieces. This is extremely useful if you’re looking for a personalised gift that also supports a small business.

3.    Buy Second-hand

Another brilliant way of making your Christmas more sustainable is to buy second-hand. Charity shops can have some hidden gems a loved one might be thrilled with. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something specific, you can search buy and sell pages in your local area on Gumtree or Facebook. Buying second-hand can help us save money at Christmas as well as making sure something doesn’t go to waste.  

4.    Support a Charity

If there is someone in your life that feels passionately about conservation, consider supporting a charity on their behalf. This could make a lovely present for just the right person, whether this be gifting tickets to our very own National Marine Aquarium or adopting an animal, there are many ways in which supporting charities can help our environment whilst simultaneously making someone very happy this Christmas.

5.    Make Decorations

Making your own decorations is a great way of reducing waste, try using old paper to make snowflakes or paper chains, you could also repurpose old baubles and hang them on string to make a garland, just like we did to decorate the NMA this year! Fun decorations can be made out of many things you can find around your house, try painting toilet roll tubes to make little Santa, penguin or snowmen ornaments.

6.    Reduce, Reuse and Recycle your way into Christmas

You can handmake your cards using old Christmas cards or drawing them yourself. If you feel like it, you could even throw out the card tradition all together and send an e-card instead!

Instead of standard wrapping paper, you can use brown/recycled paper. These can be recycled unlike many types of wrapping paper. You could make some finishing touches to your gift wrapping with some string for a lovely authentic look to your presents.

We hope you have enjoyed these sustainable suggestions from us! The most important thing to remember this time of year is that every little helps. One small change can make a big difference and if we just try our best, Christmas will be more magical than ever.