How to Make Christmas Day Creative, Affordable and Sustainable

Have yourself a merry sustainable Christmas!

If you're wanting to get creative this Christmas and reduce, reuse and recycle, you've come to the right place! We've asked our followers what their top tips are for a sustainable Christmas and compiled their answers to help you stay eco-friendly throughout the festive season.


Christmas Present Wrapping

  • Use old sheets for wrapping paper, then turn them into cleaning cloths βœ… πŸŒΏβ™»οΈ reduce, reuse + recycle!
  • We're wrapping presents in newspaper this year, we've already told the kids Santa is huge into recycling so should expect presents wrapped in such a way
  • Everything is recycled and presents are wrapped in reusable pillow cases
  • We have Christmas decorated pillow cases that we put the kids Christmas presents in, instead of wrapping paper. We also use recycled paper from previous years for the cousins presents
  • Everything is recycled and presents are wrapped in reusable pillow cases
xmas present in brown paper wrapping
"Brown paper present wrapping is perfect, the kids can draw/write special messages and it can be 100% recycled at the end!"
  • We are using recyclable wrapping paper. The majority of wrapping paper is too glossy to ever be recycled
  • Keep discarded wrapping paper to make decorations for next year 😊
  • We decided to use Christmas sacks for our presents instead of paper wrapping them so they can be used every year
  • I am going to wrap in tea towels and scarves this year
  • Santa πŸŽ… sacks for presents instead of using Wrapping Paper πŸŒŸπŸŽ„πŸŒŸ
  • Re use Santa sacks each year for present wrapping and Recycle all plastic, paper & cardboard packaging! ♻️ πŸŽ…πŸ»
micro digital xmas card
"Reduce Christmas waste by sending digital Christmas cards instead of paper/card ones and if you still want to send paper/card Christmas cards just make sure that they are recycled ones!"
  • We wont be wrapping pressies this year, we are putting them in a sack an the kids are happy with that
  • Everything is recycled and presents are wrapped in reusable pillow cases
  • Being mindful of waste reusing wrapping paper, using fabric and recycling ribbon etc
  • Recyclable wrapping paper and reuse for gifts throughout the year. Buying ethical gifts. All our kids are getting experiences instead of plastic toys.
  • My best tip is to use fabric bags instead of wrapping paper!
  • We are using reusable cloth bags instead of wrapping paper this year first batch of gifts already wrapped and shared #clothbags

Christmas Present Ideas

  • My daughter is only 2 but we are keeping it simple with minimal plastic throw away items. She gets something she "wants, needs, wears and reads" we also don't wrap any Santa presents and all our family presents are being wrapped in recycled paper from last year. We have also tried to gift experiences where we can instead of tangible throw away items
  • This Christmas were not doing presents at all, we’re going on a holiday
  • This year we’ve decided to; Reduce the number of presents our kids get to 1 or 2 more considered items.
  • We reuse the paper that butter is wrapped in to line the Christmas cake tin, we use the eggshells lightly crushed, to spread around our vegetable seedlings for slug/snail control
  • Our top tip this year is to try to give sustainable products as gifts
kids riding on micro sprite 2 wheel scooter
"This Christmas the kids can ride their new Micro Sprites to the beach and reduce our car use, fuel and carbon emissions. And bonus I’ve found with Micro Scooters is that spare parts are available to increase longevity of use. Less landfill."
  • Firstly, think about what you really need/want to gift. The best way to reduce/reuse/recycle is to be conscious of what you bring into your home in the first place. We try to buy less, not get caught up in the hype of the commercial aspect too much. I make notes throughout the year of gift ideas. Buy local handmade where possible, support small business and the quality is usually amazing
  • My top tip is if you are giving a gift that needs batteries eg kids toys with lights then include a cheap rechargeable battery unit with it, they are cheap and sold in supermarkets Trademe etc. It's going to mean it's cheaper than buying batteries for an item all the time. It's also better for the environment. The recipient will love you for it too. Nothing worse than a kid nagging you for batteries
  • Rechargeable batteries are a must with toys and Christmas decorations. Helps save the planet and your bank account. Non rechargeable batteries are wasteful and end up in landfill
  • We are trying to reduce the use of plastic water bottles, so this year we are gifting family & friends with stainless steel drink bottles β€οΈπŸ˜˜πŸŽ…πŸ»
  • Buying everyone gifts that will help reduce waste and promote sustainability. I’m thinking keep cups, natural skin care, glass containers, etc 😁
reusable metal straws
"We get a sustainable present, last year was metal straws, this year beeswax wraps, food scraps go to the chickens, or compost, scarves, fabric for wrapping, or for any bigger items reusable Santa sack"
  • I find it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of the season and buy things, whether your kids truly need them or not. This year, Santa’s list for our children is for something they need. Something that once outgrown, can then get passed onto siblings for more years of use. Quality over quantity
  • My top tip would be shop local! I like to buy my pressies and Christmas food, where possible, from local markets. By shopping local your carbon footprint is smaller as the products haven't had to travel very far to get to you. The little handmade gifts purchased at markets are unique, well made and always a hit with the receiver. Plus they are often made from recycled or reused goods. Food from the market is often better quality and super fresh. Ultimately it's nice to support the local people who are able to support their families with the money you give them πŸŒ²πŸŒπŸ’š
  • I’ve asked Santa for a scooter so we can increase the days we scooter to and from school, it’s a lot faster with mummy scooting too πŸ™ŒπŸΌ
  • We will be buying more thoughtfully this Christmas...without the plastic and from small local businesses πŸŽ…
  • Gift experiences not items. Sets dates in the new year to spend time with loved ones so it keeps the happiness rolling

Christmas Decorations and Food

  • No Christmas cards, no new decorations, all reusable plates and cutlery, none of these one off plastic or even wooden ones just because it's Christmas, we can do a natural table placement for decor
  • We are thinking if using a potted tree this year so we can keep using the same one for several years before having to plant it out in the garden
  • No Xmas crackers and I am looking for second hand, recycled or wooden toys!
  • Upcycling wine bottles for homemade kombucha


real christmas tree in a pot

"With the dinner and meals for Christmas I have bought Christmas themed reusable cup so no paper plates or paper cups. That way we can be more sustainable and my dogs even have their own Christmas socks for their little pressie so yes recycle and reuse"

  • Everyone loves some glitters and colours, it’s the time of the season of lights and exaggerated brightness. We do a minor change to our Christmas lights this year. We kept away all traditional big colourful bulbs, and use only LED lights. We also take an effort to switch off all display lights before we sleep each night (our reindeer and Santa need to rest too!) It’s great to know that we are saving 95% of energy and 100 times of watts in comparison to what we previously used. This sure brings us that sustainable and joyful mood to our ho-Ho-Ho-Ho-home!
  • No wastage with food or gift wrappings. Everything is reused, repurposed or recycled


    Christmas Present Wrapping

    • I love using my kiddies art as wrapping paper πŸŽ¨πŸ’š it’s beautiful, and they’re super proud when they give out to people
    • Let your children choose their favourite artworks from the year to be saved/scrapbooked then all left over artwork becomes wrapping paper made with love also keep the front of last year’s cards to cut up and use as gift tags or for the kids to write Xmas letters on the back πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘ŒπŸ»πŸŽ„πŸ™ŒπŸ»
    • Got the kids to collect the newspaper and paint them and turned them into wrapping paper πŸ˜πŸ‘ŒπŸ€ž
    • Don't wrap presents just hide them for people to find. Like a Christmas game
    • We use my granddaughter and grandsons art work to make Christmas wrapping paper and it's so personal and bespoke and use stencils and stamps to put names on, same for Christmas cards to just beautiful with personal notes from we ones xoxo πŸŽ¨πŸ€—πŸ™πŸ₯°πŸ‘­πŸ’πŸŽ
    christmas present wrapped in brown paper and decorations
    "I use brown paper and cutout a huge gingerbread man then have filled it with their special gifts. The kids love it and the brown paper is recyclable πŸ™‚"
    • Instead of using wrapping paper I have made Christmas drawstring bags to put presents in
    • Our tip is to wrap presents with art work the kids have made through out the year
    • I just found reusable name tags for presents! So cool! We turn out sons craft throughout the year into wrapping paper if we need it but I also made my son's and nieces personalised Santa sacks
    • This Christmas I want to wrap gifts in reusable things (pillow cases, tea towels, sheets, towels) to ch-ch-change this world, a micro step at a time

    Christmas Present Ideas

    • A baking Christmas - beautiful treats home-baked and gifted in glass jars to reuse. No wrapping paper or plastic for landfills
    • Do some baking as gifts 🎁 recycle or reuse any wrapping or gift bags!
    • For family/friends Christmas presents we give homemade food gifts as everyone always needs to eat lol - I either bake presents such as shortbread (family recipe handed down through generations), Christmas biscuits, gingerbread men, cakes etc and my husband makes strawberry jam, rosella jam, chilli sauce (which he makes during the year and we keep for Christmas)
    • I’m hand making some of the presents I’m giving this year, teddy bears made out of thrifted woollen blankets πŸ’™ I purchased the beautiful pattern from an Australian small shop too! 8 down and 1 more to go 😊
    • This year I’m making succulent pots for teacher gifts using plants I propagated myself πŸ’•πŸŒ±πŸŒ±πŸŒ±πŸ’•
    succulents in glass bowl
    "🌡🌡 I started thinking a few months ago EXACTLY THIS!!! So, I started collecting old coffee jars and potted succulent cuttings in them...Bit of fabric ribbon and a handmade gift tag.. I have reusable, recycled & sustainable Christmas gifts for friends and family this year!"
    • I recycled jam jars by making candles in them also recycle egg cartons put seedlings in them
    • Making presents and baking food rather than buying pre packed food !! My daughter and I love baking together so it’s also a great way of spending time with one another πŸ’•
    • We love collecting pasta jars, scrubbing the labels off, painting the lids and then making Christmas goodies to fill... Perfect Christmas gifts and perfect way to reduce, reuse and recycle β™»οΈπŸ‘ŒπŸΌπŸŽ„
    • My girls are obsessed with making their own Christmas crackers! They have been saving toilet rolls and we pop our own little prize in the middle and my girls sit there and wrap them together. It is fun and recycling as a bonus πŸ˜€πŸ‘Œ


    Christmas Present Wrapping

    • If you have little children - wrap the presents in the junk mailer adverting and put into a box - just use Christmas paper on the box (or decorate the box yourself)
    • No Xmas paper for wrapping. Using reusable bags as people need as there are no supermarket bags available
    • Ditch the wrapping paper :)
    • I've saved up some packaging paper and I'm going to use it to wrap gifts in instead of buying Christmas wrap 😍 if I'm feeling fancy I'll get my son to do some drawing on it haha
    santa sack from the north pole

    "Each of the girls get a 'Santa Sack' of presents (the sack is sent back to the North Pole each year to be reused next year) instead of wrapping everything individually and we also shop for secondhand items - there are so many kids items available that are indistinguishable from brand new! (Reindeer poo is also a great fertiliser for the lawn)"

    • Reusing wrapping paper and not giving the kids too many things!
    • My top tip for reducing waste is by using Santa sacks each year. No need for wrapping of presents, saves time and also saves money by not having to buy paper. It's a win for everyone 😊
    • This year's wrapping is the same as we've used for the past five years . . . sewn Christmas bags
    • Wrap a ribbon around the box as wrapping and then hide it until Christmas Day! The children can play with the toy, the box and the ribbon!

    Christmas Present and Decoration Ideas

    • We do swap a gift in our family every year everyone spends maximum of $10 we all go off to the Op Shops & buy a gift that can be reused & doesn't break the bank it's so interesting seeing what the little ones getπŸ‘Œ in our big household of 4 teenage boys & 2 little girls this helps a lot & we use there old art pictures to wrap the gifts 😍β™₯οΈπŸŽ„
    • If you make your Christmas about family and friends spending time together you will start off on the right foot. Presence instead of presents when you do activities together. You can wrap presents in fabric and be thoughtful instead of buying something just for the sake of giving a present
    • My tip is to re wrap all untouched birthday presents for xmas presents:)
    christmas trees made from drift wood
    "I love a non-traditional tree, something a bit quirky and fun. So a driftwood Christmas tree with a decoration of hanging balls, stars, and flowers that gonna made from old magazines that I keep it home after read. And believe me guys, this is ridiculously easy to make and cost next to nothing, which is a price tag will feel you thankful over every time"
    • We just do secret Santa also saves $ and most of the stuff you get is cheap and nasty and plastic so trying to reduce that way
    • Buying second hand, Pre loved items is a great way to bring life back into something and makes a thoughtful gift too πŸŽ„
    • I'm going to try not to overspend and make gifts more personal this year πŸ€—
    • Gift vouchers and shop on boxing day sales
    • My top tip is we are not doing presents this year. Adults have what we need or buy it so we end up wasting money. My niece and nephew are having an β€œexperience” instead where we will spend the day together having fun and exploring
    • We love to change our theme for decorating so we buy thrifted (second hand) decorations at the charity stores to save money and help them out also

    Pass it Forward

    • This year I have placed a couple of empty boxes πŸ“¦ πŸ“¦ under the tree 🌲 so that everyone who comes in bring something that they no longer need and place it in the boxes.. these can be πŸ“š stationary, toys 🧸 or clothes πŸ‘š πŸ‘• in good condition that can be given for charity. My kids πŸ‘¬ have already started filling them and after we open up the presents this year I’m pretty sure the there will be more stuff going in to these boxes. This is the season of sharing and giving πŸ₯° I believe this is the best way to teach kids about Sharing and reusing ♻️
    • Each year we give away toys and clothes to others and try to wrap with fabric and other reusable materials πŸ₯°
    • We gift outgrown children's books and toys to those in need
    • "For every gift we receive on Christmas morning we need to give two back to the 'SANTA BASKET ' which the elf takes on boxing day back to the North Pole for Santa to give to children next year. We then donate these to the Women and Children's Refuge or Charity Shops." πŸŽ…β€πŸŽ„

    basket full of wooden toys

    "My daughter and I have been through her toys etc that she no longer plays with and passes them on to other families that may be struggling to buy for their children this year. We also don't give out Christmas cards as they tend to go in the bin after the day and we get some much more junk mail at this time of year even though we have a no circulars on our mailbox so we use these as wrapping paper with a little paint and glitter, they look great <3 <3"
    • We have family around, everyone brings food nothing is wasted as we live on leftovers for days haha, also kids old toys are recycled and reused by giving to the local shelter. Very special moment for our family
    • Leading up to Christmas πŸŽ„ we give our less favoured toys to families in need, we always use newspaper for pressies & honey 🍯 from our hive as gifts 🎁
    • We've volunteered to help out at one of the homeless soup kitchens in the afternoon on Christmas Day
    • This year most of our kids presents are second hand - a chance to give someone else's unwanted toys a new life 😊
    • At Christmas time we go through my kids toys they don’t play with and donate to local charities, we also love riding our scooters to save on fuel

    christmas dinner at the table setting

    "We ask around our community and invite those who would otherwise be spending Christmas alone, to join our family for Christmas dinner. We don't seem to be collecting the homeless (I think other organisations provide for them) but people who have no family within travelling distance, who may be elderly, or moved to this area for work. It is usually a small group of extras but they make a huge difference to how special the day feels to us all. We find the Christmas Spirit"
    • I try to minimise food wastage 🚫 not only does it add unnecessary cost but it impacts greatly on the environment 🌿 And if I end up over-estimating, rather than just binning what's left I transform leftovers to create new meals, 🍲 save money πŸ’° and cut waste. 🚯 Additionally if I have too many leftovers, I freeze what I can or donate some to an elderly neighbour, πŸ§“πŸΌπŸ‘΄πŸΌ local food bank 🏦 or soup kitchen. 🍜 Any other waste goes to the backyard compost 🌷
    • We wrap xmas presents in newspapers. We also go through our house once every 6 months an re- gift/donate to people in need
    • We get the kids to clear out their old toys to donate mid December πŸ™‚
    • We have said no to plastic toys this Christmas. We are instead donating to bushfire relief πŸ’–
    Check out The Micro Scooter Aid Project to see how we help pass it forward in the best way we can, by providing refurbed Micro Scooters to charities, hospitals and other good causes in Australia and New Zealand. Nominate your favourite good cause and each month we'll choose one and give them scooters. Just like that :)