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How to have an eco-friendly Christmas

'Tis the season to banish waste, tat all things un-recyclable and go sustainable. We’re not just talking gifts here – it’s all the trimmings, from wrapping paper to festive fromage.

It feels like there’s been a big cultural shift  this year where Christmas prep is concerned – family, friends and Muddy readers are all talking about how to plan and shop more mindfully this festive period. Think less last-minute panic buys from Amazon and more considered purchases from cool, local indie shops – and ideally these goodies should be ethically sound and created locally too. We’re not just talking gifts here – it’s all the trimmings, from wrapping paper to festive fromage.

Here’s how you can have a more eco-friendly Christmas and polish your halo while you’re at it (just be careful no one mistakes you for an angel and plonks you atop the tree).


Wrappers’ delight

Hands up who else is desperately seeking wrapping paper that’s not splattered with un-recyclable, microplastic-y glitter? Change is definitely afoot – M&S have removed the sparkly menace from its entire Christmas range, including paper, this year. I think we’ll see a return to rustic wrapping – good ol’ brown paper and twine. Muddy Award-winning gift shop in neighbouring Bucks Oxon, Feather & Nest, in Wallingford, has got easy-peasy brown paper gift bags with stickers for tricky-shaped gifts, perfect for hopeless wrappers like me (plus all their cards and stationery are made in the UK). Another Muddy favourite, Plastic Freedom, has these recycled ribbons and paper options (see our interview with fabulous founder Beth Noy here), while Sophia Victoria Joy screen-prints jaunty chevrons onto this recycled paper (above). And how’s this for a dual-purpose genius product? This seed paper can be used to wrap or make greetings cards and tags – and then afterwards you plant it and grow poppies. Awww! Finally, (woolly) hats off to fashion brand Fat Face – we love this video that shows you how to repurpose shopping bags as wrapping paper.

  • New plastic free independents in Warwickshire include Charlie Demetriou’s Zero Waste store at 41, Russell Street, Leamington Spa, Core in Park Street, Leamington, run by Alex Daniels and Beth Smith, and sustainable convenience store, Green Bean, in Warwick.


A fine pine

Recycling points are available across Warwickshire after Christmas for real trees. Dobbies garden centres (branches in Rugby, Stratford-upon-Avon and Atherstone) have a decent selection of artificial trees plus some pot-grown ones so you can replant in Jan.


Totally crackers

John Lewis announced recently that from next year their crackers won’t contain single-use plastic toys (or cracker tat, as it’s known in our house). We love Nancy & Betty‘s stylish, handmade, fully recyclable crackers (above) which are handmade in Kent and Kate Sproston‘s clever reusable linen crackers, that you can fill with sweets or toys year after year.


Eat, drink and be merry

We’re obviously massively spoilt for choice around here when it comes to fantastic food and drink producers so here are just a few of Muddy favourites.

Bridewell Gardens, a brilliant charity project in West Oxon, offers social and therapeutic horticulture sessions to people with mental health issues so the English sparkling wine from their vineyard has the feelgood factor in more ways than one. If you’re hitting the harder stuff, do try Shakespeare Distillery’s four gins.  They went down a treat at the Muddy Awards this year – and a new one to try this Christmas, Elderflower and Quince.

How about getting all your veg from your local farm or local veg box scheme? I’m lucky enough to have Hilltop Farm Shop in Hunningham, Wild and Free in Rugby town centre and Malt Kiln Farm within striking distance, slightly further afield there’s Hillers in Alcester, Down-to-Earth in Earlsdon, Coventry and The Farm in Snittersfield. You’ll also fine me drooling over the cheese counter at Cheese on the Green in Bilton, Rugby and Taste of the Country in Shipston-on-Stour (which stocks more than 40).


Deck the halls

Step away from the bargain pack of plastic supermarket baubles made in China and think laterally this year when it comes to glitzing up your interiors. I’ve previously nabbed gorgeous vintage decorations from antiques centre, Bonds Lifestyle in Stratford-upon-Avon and in Leamington check out lovely independent interiors store Fable, inside the Royal Priors shopping centre for surprisingly affordable gifts, many regionally produced.

Meanwhile, online store & Keep has oodles of plastic free, paper and felt decorations while Plastic Freedom (above) have some wonderfully inventive options in brass and mango wood. Don’t forget good ol’ Oxfam – I love this little Fairtrade, hand-made felt flamingo and finally, if someone doesn’t buy me Feather & Nest’s dancing fairy dog (below) then Christmas is officially cancelled.


Are you aiming for a more sustainable Christmas this year? We’d love to hear your thoughts and tips – comments below, please.

Find more ideas here

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