Despite the 25th December being one of the best times of the year for many people who celebrate it, Christmas has some devastating impacts on the environment.

Christmas Day sees billions of people uniting with family and friends for a day of celebration. For lots, the day starts with present opening. Approximately 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging and 227,000 tonnes of wrapping paper (much of which unrecyclable) are used at Christmas with lots making its way into our oceans. As well as this, 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away by British households each year (as researched by Imperial College).

Christmas is a time of excessive travel, subsequently increasing carbon emissions. It is estimated that we collectively cover 6 billion miles in the UK alone. The fumes from cars and other transportation not only have an impact on global warming but pollution levels.

Crackers-a well loved tradition which adorns the dinner table-also contributes to waste. Ensure you recycle all cardboard and buy a sustainable version such one made of seed paper, allowing you to plant it after use.

Our food intake is also a lot higher. According to, the Christmas period sees us binning 230, 000 tonnes of food and eating 80% more food than the rest of the year.

In May this year, the UK became the first country to declare a climate emergency, pledging to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. If this is to be achieved, it should be our aim to reduce our carbon footprint all year round especially during periods of high consumption.

Tips for a more environmentally friendly festive season include:

• Using recyclable wrapping paper or reusable gift bags-remember that shiny paper can’t be recycled

• Eating less red meat or dairy produce

• Travel via public transport, walking or cycling

• E cards-an online alternative to a popular Christmas tradition

• Gift someone a reusable water bottle, bamboo tooth brush or clothes sourced from an ethically aware company

• Research the Christmas tree you buy, making sure its impact on the environment is minimal.

• Educate your friends and family the state of our climate at the moment

• Restrain from buying Christmas crackers

Christmas time is ideally a season of happiness and joy for many, so it becomes easy to forget about the climate emergency we are faced with. Hopefully, one by one we will make a difference and save our planet!

Amelia Downs