10 tips for a greener Christmas

We are always looking for ways to be more sustainable here at Millbrook, and even more so at Christmas. Taking inspiration from our buying team, here are our 10 top tips for a greener Christmas at home. 

Go Natural

Embrace natural decorations this year! Buy one of our wreath bases, then add your own foraged or bought trimmings such as pinecones, ribbons and dried oranges, or use festive houseplants and natural greenery to decorate your Christmas table. Don’t forget outside. Just like Tammy, bring some joy to your doorstep by planting up a Christmas pot with Winter favourites like Cyclamen, Hellebore or Skimmia and add some LED lights for a bit of magic sparkle. 

Choose eco decs

We made the commitment a couple of years ago to not sell any single-use plastic, or plastic glitter, in our Christmas ranges. Instead, our buyers have been working hard to source planet-friendly alternatives such as handmade felt, paper mache and wooden decorations. We also stock a beautiful range of glass baubles, handmade in Europe, that are plastic and silver nitrate free. The best decorations are often the ones with a story, so make sure to look after your eco heirlooms so they can be passed on.

Feast locally

Low-mileage food that supports local jobs and the economy is a great choice for a greener festive table and an easy way to help the planet. Our Food Hall is bursting with over 600 tasty products from 43 local Kent and UK suppliers. Explore our shelves for an expanding selection of local tipples from top-notch Kentish wines and Chapel Down fizz, to craft gins from Maidstone Distillery and Chatham Dockyard. We also stock fresh produce, preserves, chocolates, cakes and lots more treats that will bring a local touch to your Christmas spread.  

Plants make perfect presents

If you’re stuck for a gift, we think plants make the perfect present! Our stunning poinsettias are locally grown in Staplehurst, while most of our outdoor plants are also grown in the UK, in peat-free soil. There's nothing more environmentally friendly than planting a tree and it would give years of pleasure to the recipient and the wildlife in their garden. Or why not let Sharon (Gravesend centre only) create a designer pot and have it gift-wrapped by our team to take all the hassle out of Christmas shopping.

Buy a real British tree

Not sure whether to buy a real or artificial tree? Our real, British trees are grown sustainably in Scotland and Surrey. For a really planet-friendly choice, invest in a potted tree that will continue to grow and can be brought in and decorated year after year. If you prefer an artificial centrepiece, it's been calculated keeping it for 10 years or more will balance out the carbon footprint, making it equivalent to buying a real tree every year for a decade. Remember to recycle your tree after Christmas to save it going to landfill.

Wrap differently

All our wrapping paper and cards are recyclable, free of plastic glitter and foil. Decorate your gifts with pretty ribbon or twine that can be reused, and add some natural finishes - pinecones, sprigs of pine leaves or eucalyptus - instead of plastic bows. Switch to paper tape or make sure to remove plastic tape before putting paper into your recycling bin.  

Enjoy plastic-free crackers 

We only stock crackers that are fully recyclable so your celebrations can go off with a greener bang. Or why not add some sustainable table gifts? Our range of mini potted succulents or locally-made chocolate treats make great place settings for friends and family.

Save with LED lights 

LED lights are not only better for the planet, they are more durable and will save you money on your bills over the festive period. Make sure to switch them off when you are not around to enjoy them, and because they are cool to the touch they are great for adding a festive touch to outside plants and houseplants. This year, to be less wasteful, we have switched to rechargeable batteries in our Christmas displays, and we're using converters to cut down on the amount of energy we use in-store during the festive season.

Christmas jumpers 

Take Tammy’s lead and rewear, swap, borrow or buy your Christmas jumpers second-hand! Follow Tammy’s Jumperful Challenge on Facebook and Instagram this month where she is being sponsored to wear a different festive sweater every day in support of Greenfingers charity. 

Conscious travel

Our Christmas buying involves a lot of travelling, from Holland to Harrogate! Last year we made all of these trips by train rather than flying and we will be doing the same again this year. One simple way to help the planet this Christmas is sharing car journeys, or travelling by train or bus. Even better if it’s a hybrid or electric bus like the Millbrook bus in Gravesend! 

Where to next?

Photo credits: Wreath cover photo by Fabien TWB and presents photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash.

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