Greener holidays

For the end of year celebrations, suggestions for "Special Christmas" gestures

Greener holiday

I choose my Christmas tree

Plastic or natural?

In France, 7 millions of fir trees are sold each year for Christmas. You have the choice between natural fir and plastic fir.
Plastic fir trees last longer, but lose their luster and are abandoned on average after three years. If you want to keep it longer and thus reduce its cost on the environment (raw material derived from hydrocarbons and expensive energy production process), you will need to clean it after each use and store it with care.

If you prefer natural firs, have no fear: most are grown for the holidays and therefore do not contribute to the destruction of forests.

Fashion is now Nordmann variety: very dense, it also has the advantage of being more resistant and keep longer needles. But it is often imported from Denmark, or even from Russia, in a refrigerated truck. Exorbitant cost in terms of transport. Nordmann competes with the spruce traditionally cultivated in France.

Ask the origin of your tree to your nurseryman.

Unfortunately, too few trees today carry the FSC label in Europe: you will find some in Switzerland but not in France ...

Think about it: some fir trees are sold for the benefit of social or humanitarian associations.

To replant

You have chosen the essence of your tree? Prefer it in pots and grown in this pot for at least a year before purchase, to replant it after the holidays. Warning: if you place your fir tree close to a radiator or heat source, it will be more difficult to survive when replanted outdoors.

Original and ecological: the fir tree

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And why not make your own Christmas tree? to cut out of recycled cardboard for example… unless one of your indoor plants does the trick!

DIY idea: find Christmas trees in bottles recycling directly here

The decoration

You can buy your ready-made decorations, preferably from fair trade, or make them yourself from falling wood, wool, or any other recycled material. Place to the imagination!

If you like electric decorations, install a timer that, for example, turns them on at 18h and turns them off at midnight. For garlands, opt for LED lights that consume 80 90% less electricity than conventional garlands. In addition, they last 7 times longer: energy saving bulb technologies.

After the holidays

You can give a second life to your tree, even if it is not possible to replant: its wood can be used for the supply of chimney or boiler and the branches can be crushed and composted.

The city of Brussels has been organizing the collection of Christmas trees for composting for ten years; in France Suresnes and other cities are also involved.

I prepare a more "ecological" holiday meal

The invitations

In the age of the Internet and new technologies, why not give preference to electronic invitations? It's fun, easy to customize, and saves paper and waste. This is also true of greeting cards

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Let's eat

For the table, why not go back to basics and consider tablecloths, napkins, traditional dishes? It's pretty and reusable. Disposable dishes are practical, but they also mean more waste! And if the dishes are missing, it is always possible and very fun to share them.

For the meal, it is often difficult to measure the purchase of food: we are always afraid of running out. But it is possible to limit things by avoiding excessively small packaging, sources of excess packaging and by preferring packaging that is subject to selective collection.

For the menu, the ideal is to promote seasonal foods and beverages to avoid long transport or heated greenhouses, which are particularly energy-intensive activities.

When shopping, don't forget your basket or tote to limit the use of plastic checkout bags!

I offer lasting gifts

The good choice

Nothing worse than offering a gift that will never leave the box! Take the time to think about your shopping to find the gift that will be fun while being useful to who you will offer it.

Be vigilant about the origin of your gifts, prefer renewable materials and if possible, guaranteed by labels (FSC for wood for example). Also prefer socially responsible products (fair trade). Avoid unnecessary packaging and always prefer durable gifts.

Be original: offer a service exchange certificate! It's very simple: indicate on a nice piece of paper the service you are ready to render (install a shelf, repair a water leak, a few hours of ironing, cleaning, DIY ...), slip it by example on a decorated envelope and give it all to the person of your choice.

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You can do the same with other “materialized” gifts (gift certificates, invitation to a show, legally downloaded music, film or book or digital subscription, rather than those on paper or CD…).

For children, the toys of yesteryear are all the rage: wooden toys, fabric dolls, educational games or books ...

Avoid toys that require the use of batteries or so, offer rechargeable batteries and charger with your gift.


The tradition is that we wrap gifts: opt for reusable paper or fabric bags. Or make your own packaging, for example from recovered paper or tissue and glued on newspaper.

To give

The Christmas spirit is also generosity, sharing. Instead of letting the toys with which your children do not play sleep, ask them to gather the ones they want to separate. Make sure these items are clean and in good working order, then give them to the charities that will redistribute them to other children (via 2 programs: People Relief et Catholic Relief).

I choose my destination and my mode of transport: or better I stay in my area!

We move a lot during the holiday season, for shopping, holidays with family or friends.

Choose local destinations and opt for public transport (train for travel, but also bus, metro or tram for short trips) ... but it is still best to stay in your region.

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