Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash; graphics: author

Applying circular principles to make Christmas cards more sustainable

Welcome to the Circular Advent! Each day I’ll pick an aspect of Christmas and use circular principles (keep materials and products in use, design out waste, and regenerate natural systems) to explain how we can be more sustainable. Today: Tree Decorations

Keep products in use

We buy greeting cards that can be kept and framed by the recipient if they wish. With Christmas cards, it’s more difficult to us3 them year-round. Instead, you could think about turning cards into decorations (as suggested yesterday) or gift tags. Decorations would be my preference, as they could be used more than once.

Alternatively, turn the cards into new cards. It’s not an entirely circular option as you need to replace any card stock that’s been written on, but it keeps some of the material in use. Our village has a group who reuse greeting cards (though they don’t take Christmas cards at the moment) so that may be an option worth looking into.

Design out waste

Electronic cards can be fun and increasingly we can personalise them. Keep in mind that even electronic cards are not without a footprint. Everything we send electronically requires storage space on a server somewhere.

If you’re an analogue nerd like myself, you don’t have to give up card and paper completely. Limit the number of cards, stripping out the extended family or work colleagues. Keep the cards you do send small and personal and minimise embellishments.

P.S. No Glitter!

Regenerate natural systems

Some manufacturers are now making cards with seeds embedded, which can be planted when the holiday season comes to an end.


I’ve created a page for additional resources, which I’ll populate with other ideas and companies who are working in this space. In the meantime, if you have any tips you’d like to share, let me know.