3 tips for planning a more conscious Christmas

Christmas is a time for extravagance, so how can you throw a party for your loved ones in a more sustainable way?
In this guide, Hayley Baddiley from Denby shares a few tips for planning a more conscious celebration this year.
We're all making little changes every day to be kinder to our planet and live more sustainably. But, Christmas can pose a few challenges when you're trying to live a more conscious lifestyle. From the festive food we eat to the presents we give and receive, it’s worth taking the time to consider more conscious choices. 
After the events of the last few years, you may be eager to put on an even more joyous Christmas party than usual this December. The good news is that you don't have to sacrifice your celebrations in order to do more sustainable things, like reduce your waste.
If you want to make Christmas extra special this year, you might be wondering how to put together a more eco-friendly party for your loved ones. Below, I'll share some ideas for more conscious decorations, food, and gifts you can try. 

Incorporate colour into your festive décor 

This Christmas we have extra cause for celebration, so many households will be looking for ways to add more joy and frivolity to their parties this year. Try putting traditional Christmas colours like forest green and holly berry red to one side in favour of bright blues and purples — not only do these colours help provide a modern, vibrant atmosphere, but you'll find that a little goes a long way. 
Try making your own decorations out of paper, such as paper lanterns, tissue paper pompoms, and paper chains. These add a crafty, fiesta vibe, and they are much easier to dispose of than tinsel and other plastic decorations that can't be recycled (Recycle Now). Alternatively, use decorations made from sturdy natural materials, such as wood and clay, that you can use year in year out to limit what you need to throw away.
You can continue the vibrant theme with your food and drink too, opting for eye-catching tableware and boldly coloured foods that use natural colourings like beetroot.

Choose fuss-free food options

When putting together your festive menu, it's always best to use seasonal ingredients. Fortunately, many traditional Christmas favourites are in season during December, including sprouts, carrots, chestnuts, cranberries, and potatoes, and they can all be grown here in the UK (BBC Good Food). When buying your ingredients, check the packaging and look for produce from British farmers, or visit your local farm shop and get the bulk of your shopping done there.
Let the quality of your food speak for itself with a buffet table rather than a sit-down meal — that way, everyone can try a bit of everything and socialise. Plus, you can arrange your buffet food with centrepieces and decorations to make an attractive display. The best buffets incorporate both hot and cold foods, so be sure to have plenty of dishes that are fresh from the oven alongside your cold festive snacks. Stylish oven-to-tableware is ideal for pulling this off, as the heat from cooking keeps the stoneware (and the food in it) hotter for longer.

Give gifts that mean more

Giving and receiving gifts is a part of Christmas - but rather than getting carried away with your Christmas shopping and buying piles of gifts, take time to plan your presents carefully and endeavour to choose quality over quantity. Over 21 million people receive at least one unwanted gift each Christmas, with 5% thrown away and sent to landfill (Finder). So, it's worth buying a few select presents for each person on your list instead.
Not only are quality gifts more likely to get used rather than thrown away, but they also tend to last longer too — particularly if they have been handcrafted in the UK. That way, you're buying something that the recipient will get to enjoy for years to come. So, where possible, focus on presents that are built to last and won't go out of style.
This Christmas should be one to remember, and not only can a more conscious celebration reduce your environmental impact, but it can make for a more joyous and personal party too.  Bear these tips in mind and you're sure to delight your guests while keeping waste low.