How to celebrate the season of giving sustainably

At FSG, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do - and Christmas is no exception. There’s always ways to celebrate this joyful season with more mindfulness for the planet and our communities, so we’ve put together a guide to help you have a more sustainable season of giving.

While this year may be an improvement for most of us from the lockdown Christmas of 2020, the pandemic (and Brexit) continue to cast a shadow over festivities. Rumours of gift, pudding and tree shortages across the UK threaten our beloved Christmas traditions, but the good news is that whether you’re a Christmas-enthusiast or reluctant grinch, there are some easy tips and tricks to make your festivities more eco-friendly. Shop Early, Shop Local In a study conducted by YouGov, it was revealed that 64% of people are more keen to support local businesses as a result of the pandemic. There has never been a better time to shop local with hundreds of small businesses opening up during lockdown. Local breweries, potters, artists, chocolatiers, bakeries and many more, could benefit from your custom this Christmas. Not only will you boost your local economy, but you’ll be upgrading your gift-giving reputation with unique, meaningful presents. Take a walk down your high street, a quick search on handmade online marketplace, Etsy, or even a scroll down your Instagram feed and discover how easy shopping locally can really be. The key to shopping locally is to start early. If you’re reading this and you haven’t started - this is your sign! It’s important not to put too much pressure on small businesses just before Christmas, so finding gifts for your loved ones in plenty of time will help everyone to have a relaxing Christmas. Pre-loved Presents There are great ways to avoid buying brand new gifts altogether this year. Not only can it reduce your environmental impact, but it can also save you money. For example, bag yourself a bargain by seeking out hidden gems at your local charity shop. A preloved pair of boots or retro cut glass crystal could be the perfect gift for your loved ones, whilst providing much needed funds to good causes. If you’re a creative type, this Yuletide could be the ideal opportunity to show off your talents to the family. Perhaps a local wreath-making class, making your own air-drying pottery, or infusing festive vodka could satisfy your inner creative genius. You can even save broken ceramics through Kintsugi, the Japanese art of fixing broken objects with gold. If gold is a little out of budget, super glue and gold paint will work just as well for decorative pieces. Rethinking Wrapping You might think that wrapping paper has little impact on the environment, but the truth is that most wrapping paper is lined with plastic or covered in glitter, making it impossible to recycle or biodegrade. Choosing to decorate our gifts sustainably this year could make a big difference to the amount of waste generated. Plain brown paper can be embellished with drawings or decorated with statement ribbons. If brown paper isn’t exciting enough for you, spare fabric can be used to create innovative wrapping, and you can even buy beautiful reusable wrapping fabric to pass on as an extra gift (or steal back for next year). Crafty blog tutorials will teach you everything you need to know about the art of gift wrapping with fabric. Rent-a-Tree It just wouldn’t be Christmas without the perfect tree adorned with lights, baubles and hanging chocolates. It's been proven that real Christmas trees, if disposed of responsibly, have significantly smaller carbon footprint than fake plastic trees. According to The Carbon Trust, you would have to use a plastic tree for ten years to make its carbon footprint as small as a real tree. And that’s if it even lasts that long! The next step is renting a local tree - a great alternative quickly becoming more and more popular across the UK. Knowing exactly where your douglas fir comes from, and giving it back after Christmas so that it can keep growing until next year, means it's carbon footprint is even smaller. Freedom from Food Waste One of the biggest impacts Christmas has on our planet, and our wallets, is the significant amount of food purchased. Sadly, many households overspend and waste tons of food by Boxing Day. Have a think back to last year and create a comprehensive list before heading to the shops. Looking up recipes ahead of time and checking your store cupboards for ingredients you already have will stop you from impulse buying and reduce the number of cinnamon sticks at the back of the spice drawer. If you’re keen to reduce your Christmas carbon footprint even further, opt for a wintery nut roast over traditional turkey, and honey roasted carrots in place of pigs in blankets. Swapping out a few meat dishes for delicious plant-based alternatives could not only help the planet, but also spark new festive traditions. If your eyes are bigger than your stomach, Christmas dinner leftovers can be just as magical as the real thing. Pop a sheet of pastry on top and create a delicious Christmas leftovers pie, or mash it up into a festive bubble and squeak: the options are endless. To find out more about us, our brands and how we’re helping to make every day more sustainable, call +44 (0) 115 976 7090 or email

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