12 Tips for an Eco Christmas

Don’t let the last few days before Christmas get eaten up with stress and an overflowing to do list. Keep it merry, bright and super simple, by paring back and letting go. These handy tips will help you spend less, stress less and enjoy more time with the people you love.

Less is more

People are usually pretty busy juggling social commitments at this time of year. Consider putting off some catch ups till February – as something to look forward to when the seasonal socialising is over. Your friends may silently thank you for it!

To-don’t list

Don’t feel you have to do everything yourself. Delegate a few jobs and let friends and whanau share the load: whether that means bringing a dish, doing the washing up or creating a Spotify playlist of festive tunes.


Consider sending postcards instead of Christmas cards. They’re less expensive and cost less to send. You could also recycle the fronts of last year’s Christmas cards to use as postcards. Depending on how many you write, this is likely to save you time too.

Green drinks

If you have a real Christmas tree, help it last through to New Year by giving it plenty of water, particularly when you first bring it home. Make sure the cut end is always in water or it will ‘seal’ itself shut, stop drinking and start drooping.


Popcorn makes a cheap and cheerful decoration on a tree or around the room. Once popped, let it sit for a day or two to get stale (it’ll thread easier), and thread string together with a needle and red cotton or fine wool. Plain popcorn makes a treat for local birdlife too.

Take a bough

Forage in your garden to make a waste-free wreath, using herbs, leaves and flowers. Woody-stemmed herbs like thyme, oregano and rosemary tend to hold their shape and create a base for other, softer foliage. Then add lavender or fennel blossoms for fragrance and texture.

Merry minimalism

Can you reduce the number of presents you buy, give and receive?  You may choose to only give experiences (anything from skydiving to concert tickets to a handmade babysitting voucher). Or operate a secret Santa scheme where each adult gives and receives just one gift.  You’ll save money, time, and reduce stressful shopping mall excursions.

Wrap it up

Furoshiki is the Japanese art of wrapping objects using fabric. Apart from being reusable, the wrapping can also be part of the gift: think vintage silk scarf, crisp linen tea towel, or even kitsch Christmas jumper as an alternative to wrapping paper.

Google ‘Furoshiki video’ for ideas.

Sweet spot

Chocolate bark is a super easy sweet gift. Just melt dark or white chocolate and pour onto a flat tray until it’s a thin layer. Sprinkle over chopped nuts, goji berries, coconut curls, buckwheat puffs, or pieces of smashed candy cane. Refrigerate, wrap in baking paper and tie with twine, or repurpose a clean jar and add a ribbon.

If you’re game

Create a new tradition on the day, by playing old-fashioned games, and avoid that post-lunch energy slump. If it’s sunny, you could take the family to the park and play petanque, have a sack race or throw a frisbee. Little ones love hide and seek, and a thousand-piece jigsaw will keep all ages busy till Waitangi Day.

Leftover love

Boxing Day breakfast can be easy and fancy, by making French toast out of stale bread and leftover eggnog, with a pinch of cinnamon. Turkey, ham or salmon work well in salads, sandwiches and frittatas. To avoid having leftovers in the first place, invite a friend or neighbour – who may not have family around them – to join your feast.

Boxing clever

Clean, empty egg cartons make protective containers for small, delicate Christmas decorations. And winding Christmas lights around coat hangers will stop them getting tangled.