How to Celebrate Sustainable Christmas: Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season

  • By Amy DeTavis
  • 7 Minutes to read
/Posted on 13 Dec 2023
How to Celebrate Sustainable Christmas: Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season

The holiday season brings a festive spirit filled with joy and warmth, yet it's also a time when our environmental footprint tends to spike. From the glimmering decorations to the lavish gifts, every aspect of our Christmas celebration has an impact on our planet. Embracing sustainability during this festive season is not just a trend, but a necessity for a healthier planet. In this guide, we delve into practical and easy-to-implement tips for an eco-friendly Christmas that's full of cheer but light on environmental impact.

Rethinking Christmas Decorations for Sustainability

The sparkle and glitter of Christmas decorations are a fun part of the holiday season. However, these decorations, often made from non-recyclable materials, end up contributing to landfills. This year, consider a sustainable approach to decking your halls. By choosing eco-friendly decorations, you can create a festive atmosphere while being kind to the planet. 

Here are a few tips for eco-friendly decorations:

  • Natural Decor: Embrace the beauty of nature by decorating with pinecones, holly, ivy, and other natural materials that can be composted after the holidays, reducing your environmental impact.
  • DIY Projects: Engage in creative upcycling by transforming old newspapers, fabric scraps, and jars into unique ornaments, fostering both creativity and sustainability.
  • LED Lights: Opt for LED Christmas lights, which are not only more energy-efficient but also last longer, saving both energy and money in the long run.

Choosing a Sustainable Christmas Tree

The debate between real and artificial Christmas trees has a significant environmental angle. While real trees are biodegradable, their cultivation, harvesting, and transportation have a carbon footprint. Artificial trees, on the other hand, are reusable but are often made from non-recyclable plastics and can end up in landfills.

Consider these alternatives for more sustainable Christmas tree options:

  • Second-Hand Artificial Trees: If you prefer artificial, opt for a second-hand tree. Check local thrift stores or online marketplaces for pre-loved trees in good condition, ensuring you reduce demand for new plastic trees.
  • Potted Trees: Consider a living, potted tree that you can enjoy year after year. These trees absorb CO2 while growing and can be a permanent addition to your garden.
  • Rent a Tree: Explore the option of renting a Christmas tree. This innovative approach allows you to enjoy a real tree without contributing to deforestation, and the tree continues to grow after the festive season.


Here are two excellent options for renting a sustainable Christmas tree around Berlin: 

  • Weihnachtsurwald Berlin: They offer a Christmas tree rental service where you can rent your favorite fir tree in a pot. The rental period can be up to 8 weeks, with prices ranging from 20 to 100 Euros depending on the tree size. They also take a deposit which is refunded when the tree is returned in good condition. The trees are designed to be easily transported in a car.
  • Plantclub x WunderTree: This is another great option for renting living Christmas trees in Berlin. WunderTree offers a service where the trees are delivered to your home or business and then picked up after the holiday season to be planted in a forest. They offer trees in three sizes to suit different spaces. For every tree that is returned, WunderTree plants an additional native species tree, supporting biodiversity. 

Both of these options provide a sustainable way to enjoy a Christmas tree in your home while contributing positively to the environment.

Eco-Friendly Gift-Giving

Gift-giving is a core part of the Christmas tradition, but it often comes with excessive packaging and waste. Choosing gifts thoughtfully and wrapping them sustainably can significantly reduce environmental impact while still spreading holiday cheer.

These are a few ideas to make your gift-giving less wasteful: 

  • Experiences Over Material Gifts: Offer experiences like cooking classes, museum memberships, or outdoor adventures, which create lasting memories without the environmental cost of physical goods.
  • Sustainable Wrapping: Get creative with gift wrapping by using fabric wraps, recycled paper, or even old maps and newspapers. These alternatives not only look unique but also help in reducing waste.
  • Handmade Gifts: Handcrafted gifts such as homemade jams, knitted scarves, or personalized artwork add a personal touch and reduce the carbon footprint associated with mass-produced items.

Green Christmas Traditions

Creating new, eco-friendly Christmas traditions can bring a fresh perspective to your celebrations. These are a few sustainable practices that not only benefit the environment but also offer a chance to create meaningful and memorable holiday experiences.

Sustainable Activities: Spend time with family creating DIY decorations or volunteering for local environmental initiatives, fostering a sense of community and environmental stewardship.

Community Engagement: Participate in local eco-friendly events or shop at Christmas markets that support local artisans and craftspeople, reducing the carbon footprint associated with long-distance shipping.

Here are some events around Berlin to enjoy the festive season in an eco-friendly way: 

  • WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt: This market is set in one of Berlin's most picturesque squares and offers an array of quality decorations, food, and entertainment, perfect for experiencing the local festive culture.
  • Christmas Market at Berlin City Hall: Known for its Ferris wheel, this market offers Old Berlin style market alleys, a circular ice rink, and various culinary delights.
  • Christmas Garden Berlin: The Botanical Garden transforms into a winter wonderland with illuminations, magic woods, and light sculptures from November to January.
  • Christmas at the Tierpark: This event lights up Europe's largest zoo, Tierpark, with a festive glow. The Friedrichsfelde Palace in the heart of the park adds to the enchanting atmosphere.
  • Christmas Market at Charlottenburg Palace: Located in front of Charlottenburg Palace, this market features over 250 vendors selling traditional foods and Christmas decorations, making it an ideal place to support local artisans.


Conscious Shopping: Make a conscious effort to buy from businesses that prioritize sustainability, whether it's for gifts, decorations, or festive attire, helping to promote a greener economy. 

These are a few local shops that are great for those looking to shop sustainably in Berlin, offering a variety of eco-friendly and ethical products: 

  • Merz b. Schwanen: Offers a range of sustainable clothing, bags, accessories, and more, made primarily from organic cotton. The store is furnished with high-quality vintage pieces, emphasizing its commitment to sustainability. (Rosenthaler Strasse 34/35, 10178 Berlin)
  • Slow Friday: A fair fashion store that works with both certified brands and smaller brands. They offer a cheerful and mindful shopping experience with a focus on sustainability. (Gormannstrasse 25, 10119 Berlin)
  • DearGoods: This concept store offers 100% vegan products, including clothing made from certified organic materials and vegan-friendly dyes and glues. (Schivelbeinerstraße 35, 10439 Berlin)
  • Supermarché: A green concept store in Kreuzberg with a diverse range of sustainable brands. They focus on transparency in fair production and also offer vegan, organic, and fair jeans. (Wienerstraße 6, 10999 Berlin)
  • Avesu: Specializes in vegan shoes made from environmentally friendly materials. They practice carbon-neutral shipping and also offer a range of backpacks and accessories. (Warschauer Straße 33, 10243 Berlin)
  • Loveco: Offers a broad collection of eco-friendly clothing, shoes, and accessories. They focus on sustainable practices and carbon-neutral shipping. (Multiple locations in Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, and Schöneberg)


Celebrate Sustainably and Spread the Holiday Cheer

As the festive season unfolds, incorporating sustainable practices into our holiday celebrations can lead to a profound positive impact on our environment. This year, let's wholeheartedly embrace eco-friendly choices, demonstrating that responsible celebration and holiday joy can go hand-in-hand.

This holiday season presents a great opportunity to be champions of sustainability. Together, we have the power to transform our festive celebrations into a beacon of joy and sustainability. Let’s make this Christmas not just merry for us but also kind to our planet.