Embracing a Sustainable Festive Season

“In the grand symphony of existence, let our celebrations be harmonious with nature, for in cherishing our planet, we find the truest joy.”- Sir David Attenborough

‘Tis the season to be jolly, but let’s not deck the halls with excess and forget about a sustainable future! Let’s sprinkle some sustainable magic into our celebrations so that future generations can celebrate for years to come. Here are some fun ideas to keep your celebrations ‘greener’ than the Grinch himself!

Mindful Gifting:

Ditch the capitalist propaganda of mass-produced goodies and opt for locally sourced or handmade treasures that sleigh the sustainability game! Remember, it’s the thought that counts. Here are a few gift ideas:

  1. Find some unique gifts at a local market.
  2. Make a charitable donation in their name.
  3. Local food and wine.
  4. DIY gifts, for example, homemade foods.
  5. Potted plants, succulents, or seeds for flowers or herbs.

Eco-Friendly Decorations:

Reusable ornaments and DIY projects with recycled materials add a personal touch to your festive ambience and will have you crafting your way to a sustainable future. Avoid single-use plastics and find decorations that can be reused. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Paper ornaments such as origami.
  2. Repurpose glass jars into lanterns by placing LED candles inside.
  3. Use an invasive tree species or driftwood for the Christmas tree.
  4. Create seed bombs by mixing clay, soil, and wildflower seeds. Shape them into festive ornaments. After the holidays, plant them to grow wildflowers.

Conscious Consumption:

Turn your feast into a sustaina-feast! Instead of imported turkey or a foreign ham, find locally sourced foods. A fun idea could be to spice up the Christmas menu with some local, traditional dishes. Here are some ideas:

  1. Mielie bread
  2. Lamb
  3. Bobotie
  4. Umncushu (Samp, Beans, and Peanuts)
  5. Malva pudding

Follow these links for recipes and more ideas:

Leftover gifting:

Leftovers are the gift that keeps giving, so get creative with your Christmas meal remixes! Let it be a pie, ham sandwich, or salad get creative. Some more adventures using leftover ingredients include smoothies with fruit, hashbrowns from potatoes, and pasta dishes with leftover meat. The sky is the limit so get creative and have fun with it! Being in the Christmas spirit we can also acquire that warm feeling inside by sharing.

Energy-Efficient Celebrations:

Everyone loves the twinkling Christmas lights, but how can we make this more sustainable?

  1. Light up your holiday nights with LED lights that shine brighter than Rudolph’s nose! Maybe it’s time to replace those ancient filament lightbulbs.
  2. Light up your holidays with the power of the sun! Especially with load shedding being more common, going solar means you can enjoy reliable energy, reduced bills, and a cleaner planet.

Sustainable Wrapping:

We all enjoy the excitement of opening the Christmas wrapping to reveal our gifts underneath. Wrap it up, eco-style! Fabric wraps, newspapers, or even maps for a gift presentation are an interesting way to make a gift stand out.

Carbon-Neutral Celebrations:

Spread holiday cheer without spreading carbon emissions. This year, choose a carbon offset initiative to counter your environmental impact and celebrate responsibly.

  1. Plant trees or pick up rubbish in the area—another great way to get in a feel-good spirit.
  2. Invest in renewable energy projects to offset your festive footprints such as reforestation initiatives or natural environment protection initiatives.
  3. Find a climate cause that is close to home. This could be funding an endangered ecosystem or species, such as protecting the penguins or penguin habitats.

Thoughtful Travel:

When it comes to getting there, we aren’t all as fortunate as Santa with his environmentally friendly sleigh! And because we can’t teleport to our families and loved ones we must think about our means of transportation and the impact they have. Here are some ways to reduce travelling emissions:

  1. Carpool so that you get to know your holiday friends better.
  2. Use public transport.
  3. Ask yourself, is Christmas really about the destination or about the people that you are spending the holidays with?
  4. If all else fails, you can offset your travel carbon.


Ultimately, we all must try to find ways to make our lives eco-friendly and take that challenge with positivity and a growth mindset. Reading this article is a good start!

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” – Native American Proverb