The festive season is here and – if you haven’t already – it’s time to start planning how you’ll be celebrating! It appears that more than ever, sustainability is at the forefront of people’s minds this year. The festive period is responsible for a huge increase in carbon emissions and waste, but an eco-friendly Christmas is possible. By making small eco-friendly swaps to some of our longstanding Christmas traditions, we can minimise the impact we have on the environment this festive season. Luckily for us, premium UK clothing brand Superdry has analysed Google search data to identify the biggest eco-friendly Christmas trends of the year.
Superdry’s search data analysis
The search interest surrounding eco-friendly Christmases has increased year on year. In 2021 it is plantable Christmas cards that have risen the most. Searches are up by 133% compared to 2020, with consumers looking for sustainable ways to send festive wishes to their loved ones. Eco-savvy shoppers are also looking for ways to re-use their traditional Christmas items rather than relying on recycling. Searches for reusable Christmas crackers rose by 127%, reusable advent calendars up by 89% and reusable wrapping paper up by 24%.
It looks like a more eco-friendly Christmas menu is trending this year too. Vegan options are also on the menu for Christmas 2021, with searches for vegan Christmas recipes up by 83%. Even the focal point of Christmas is getting greener: two of the top trends are to do with the Christmas tree. Interest in second hand Christmas trees is up 40% and Christmas tree rental has seen a spike in searches by 22%.
The top 10 eco-friendly Christmas trends
|Trend||Search Volume Increase (2021 vs. 2020)|
|1. Plantable Christmas cards||+133%|
|2. Reusable Christmas crackers||+127%|
|3. Plant based glitter||+100%|
|4. Reusable advent calendar||+89%|
|5. Vegan Christmas recipes||+83%|
|6. Organic turkey||+50%|
|7. Second hand Christmas tree||+40%|
|8. Reusable wrapping paper||+24%|
|9. Sustainable gifts||+23%|
|10. Christmas tree rental||+22%|
Plantable Christmas cards
Christmas cards can’t easily be re-used, and much like lots of other things at Christmas generally get thrown away after December. However there is a more sustainable option for those who still wish to send them. Plantable Christmas cards are usually made from recycled paper, with grass and wildflower seeds embedded into them so that the recipient can plant the card afterwards and watch it grow. A card and a gift!
Reusable Christmas crackers
All it takes to convert your standard cracker to a more eco-friendly Christmas option is a reusable cracker shell that you can fill with your own gifts. You can purchase both the outside of the cracker and a set of new “snaps” which you can feed into the cracker each year along with your own gifts. The whole family can still enjoy the tradition and get involved in creating them! This means there is less wastage of both the materials and of the small plastic gifts that are usually inside.
Glitter is usually made of microplastics, which leach into our environment and cause harm. Plant-based glitters however are made of compostable, plant-derived materials and are an eco-friendly Christmas staple. Regular glitter products leave their mark long after they’ve been used, littering the earth and posing a danger to curious animals. Plant-based glitter products break down safely when they meet soil or the ocean.
Reusable advent calendar
Reusable advent calendars are a brilliant, sustainable option for families that still want to enjoy the countdown to Christmas Day. This trend has been growing over the years so you have tons of options with less wastage than the average paper and plastic type. Some have gaps for your own gifts, sweets or chocolates, others take a different approach with ornaments that get hanged up every day. Both create a new way of starting eco-friendly Christmas traditions.
Vegan Christmas recipes
Swapping out your turkey can help reduce the energy costs involved in cooking the meal – we all know how long that turkey can take to cook! But replacing some of your meat-based Christmas dinner options to plant-based alternatives can also be significantly better for the environment. Vegan options create a more eco-friendly Christmas feast by decreasing the harmful effects of animal agriculture on our planet. Better yet, shop for veggies from your local farmer’s market to decrease the travel emissions and support those in your direct community!
If swapping out the traditional turkey just isn’t on the cards this year, buying organic and local can still have significantly positive effects on your overall carbon footprint. Research has shown buying local and organic does slash emissions but additionally you’ll also be supporting more sustainable food options from your local farmers.
Second hand Christmas tree
It can take up to, and sometimes more than, 10 years of usage for the carbon footprint of an artificial tree to balance out that of its natural counterpart! By buying a second-hand artificial Christmas tree you can extend its lifespan, and help ensure that your decorating is as eco-friendly as you can make it. Try Facebook Marketplace to search for yours.
Reusable wrapping paper
Taking it one step further and using reusable wrapping paper instead of recyclable is one of the most eco-friendly Christmas options for packaging gifts. Recycling relies on the paper ending up in the right place (it often ends up in landfill instead) and the recycling process can also use up lots of energy and water. Reusable options come in a variety of fabrics and textures, with some even looking just like regular wrapping paper. Go even further by digging using the material scraps you have at home already.
Instead of giving a gift which will end up in the bin, or at the back of a cupboard for the next few years, people are giving more thought to the gifts they give their loved ones. There are lots of options out there for eco-friendly Christmas stocking fillers. This is usually a big culprit of wastage! Choosing eco-friendly options causes less harm to the environment in the long run and provides friends and family with presents they’ll be sure to use. Think of useful items, packaging free gifts (they’re going in the stocking anyway!) and homemade/homegrown goods.
Christmas tree rental
We’ve already discussed artificial trees, but what about the real ones? The carbon footprint of real trees increases rapidly too when they end up in a landfill. Christmas tree rentals have become one of the newer, more sustainable ways to decorate your house during the festive period. All you need to do is arrange to have your tree collected/drop it off after Christmas and it’ll be replanted, ready to be used again the following year.
Looking for eco-friendly gift ideas? Head to Superdry’s list, they have one for women and one for men too!