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Top tips for an ethical Christmas

Five ways to make your Christmas eco-friendly, by Eve Balshaw

With Christmas fast approaching, Eve Balshaw, Great Commission coordinator, asks, what can Christians do to make it greener?

Start small

To create long-lasting change in any area, it’s key not to start everything at once. When God changes things in us, He is slow and gentle, drawing us towards intimacy with Him and a better way of living. The same should be true in our walk towards loving His creation better. You could start by swapping non-recyclable wrapping paper for brown parcel paper that can easily be recycled. If you want to spruce it up, why not write words of encouragement on it? Small, achievable, changes like this are more likely to stick longer term.

Crack down on leftovers

Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to lavish generosity on others through gifts, Quality Street, and 396 mince pies each. Let’s be wary of over-zealous grocery shopping, however, as the average household throws out £470 per year in avoidable food waste. By planning meals in advance and shopping accordingly, we can avoid that leftover blue stilton stinking out the fridge until we finally throw it out at Easter. And using up leftovers isn’t just for Boxing Day – make it a habit all year round.


Go local

As followers of Jesus, we want to show love and honour to people at every point in the supply chain – something that large stores sadly don’t often prioritise. Rather than defaulting to a large brand, hunt out local and independent shops to see if you could bless someone who creates beautiful, ethically sourced products instead. For groceries, try a local butcher, greengrocer, or milk delivery; and for gifts, try Etsy and local shops. It’s more than the gift-receiver who will be grateful for your choice.

Switch it up

Thinking of making a new year’s resolution? How about changing to a renewable energy supplier? You’ve still got plenty of time to research what will work best for your household, to find a company that will provide environmentally friendly energy with an easy-to-use service. Switching to renewable energy can be a big decision at first, but once you’re all set up, it’ll keep ticking away, helping reduce our impact on the environment, one boiled kettle at a time.

Make it a family affair

All these things are much easier when we do them together, holding each other accountable to the changes we feel called to make. That’s why it’s a great idea to get the rest of your household and church family involved too. Encourage your whole family to use brown paper to wrap gifts in, and see who can be the most creative with how they decorate it. See if your church could change energy provider, or use recyclable or reusable cups instead of disposable ones.

Whatever you do, spend time praying and asking God how we can work together to love and steward His beautiful creation better.

About the author

Eve is a military kid and Durham Theology graduate, who spent a year studying graphic design before joining the Evangelical Alliance in 2017. She is passionate about creativity, seeing God's kingdom come, and anything that involves cheese and/or gin. Nomadic at heart, Eve lives in the architectural wonderland of Cambridge and commutes into London to work alongside the dream team at 176. She is insistent that ‘forward planning’ is the sixth official love language and, as such, runs the behind-the-scenes of, ensuring the UK church is equipped to share Jesus wherever we are.

See more from Eve Paterson

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