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British Garden Centres 12 ways for an affordable and sustainable Christmas

Published: 10 November 2022 - Neil Mead

With the cost-of-living crisis affecting many, families might be looking to cut down on their usual festive spending over the Christmas and New Year period. Having a memorable Christmas whilst going easy on your purse and the planet is not as difficult as you think and with planning, you can still enjoy the holiday celebrations. Family-owned chain, British Garden Centres has put together 12 ways to enjoy a more affordable, greener Christmas this year.

On the 1st day of Christmas: LED Lights


The Christmas tree is often the focal point over the holidays so why not switch your old incandescent lights to some brand-new sparkly LED ones? LED lights consume 80-90% less energy and can potentially last up to 100,000 hours. Our vast array of Christmas lights from Premier Decorations has been carefully selected to reduce the extra energy you are using and the impact on your purse as well as the environment.

A simple LED “Santa Stop Here” sign can cost as little as 0.03p for 8 hours a day for 30 days, meaning your children can experience the Christmas joy. A minimalistic 100 warm white LEDs on a 10m string display costs as little as 10p a day for 30 days, whilst if you want a burst of colour this Noel, a 16m display of rainbow-coloured lights will cost a meagre 20p a day for 30 days. If you want to do an outdoor front garden or door display, no problem – a LED Polar Bear or Reindeer costs 30p a day for 30 days, whilst snowing icicles for your house façade costs just 37p.

On the 2nd day of Christmas: Solar Lights

Solar lighting is also a cost-effective way to take your Christmas party outdoors after the sun goes down. The lights harness their energy from the sun, so place them where they will receive the maximum amount of direct sunlight per day. Hang around garden structures or strung up in trees to give height and dimension to your outdoor space.

To save even more energy and pennies, connect to a timer to control how long your lights are on during the day and evening.

On the 3rd day of Christmas: Ethically made toys

As families begin to search for Christmas gifts to treat the children in their lives this festive season, British Garden Centres has sourced only the most sustainable toys for stockings and under-the-tree presents. All of the stuffing used in the soft toys we source is made from 100% recycled polyester made from plastic waste, whilst plastic products have improved recyclability at the end of their life. We try to source toys from manufacturers with as little excess packing material as possible and the boxes and hangtags are made from recycled FSC content.  Our soft toy suppliers have recycled the equivalent of more than 25 million water bottles in the manufacture of the range.

On the 4th day of Christmas: FSC puzzles

Puzzles are a firm favourite at Christmas so look for ones that are made from FSC paper and cardboard and use vegetable-based inks on boxes and pieces. Also, look for ones without shrink-wrap plastic and instead have bio-degradable stickers, which will save over half a million metres of plastic per year. Look out for all the ranges in store which are clearly labelled with the sustainable message.

On the 5th day of Christmas: Recycled Christmas Cards


Christmas is about spending time with loved ones and thinking about friends and family you may not have a chance to see. Since the pandemic, research has shown that people want to connect more and there is no better way to do this than through Christmas cards.

Our range of Christmas cards is fully recyclable and contains little glitter, foil, or lights to make them flash. These elements which were once traditional to find on a greeting card are exceedingly difficult to recycle so British Garden Centres carefully handpick a range that is made using 100% recycled paper and printed with natural inks.

On the 6th day of Christmas: Sustainable wrapping paper

With an estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper ending up in the UK’s rubbish bins, British Garden Centres sell a range in-store that is free of foil and glitter, providing shoppers with the best recyclable wrapping paper to buy, in the best festive prints for under the tree. Our collection of Christmas crackers is also made from recycled paper from a sustainable source and contains gifts that can be reused or recycled at the end of their life.

On the 7th day of Christmas: Forage your decorations from nature

Did you know that you can forage your Christmas decorations from your garden or green space around you? When people think of Christmas, holly and ivy are the obvious festive choices to add to doorways and window frames to give your house the traditional look. They can be used to dress a mantelpiece or as a table decoration on the big day with pinecones, conifer sprays, cinnamon, and dried fruit. Berries and seedheads are also ideal to fill glass vases, lanterns, and candle holders, whilst dried flowers like hydrangeas are also a beautiful display piece over the festive holidays.

On the 8th day of Christmas: Make your festive door wreath


For a door wreath, why not try plants like pine, cotoneaster, holly, ivy, eucalyptus, crab apples and ferns to make the foliage rich and festive? Use a wire wreath frame and some florist’s wire to wind the plants around your circle before decorating with a bow or spray paint and hanging them on your door.

On the 9th day of Christmas: Natural table centre terrarium

Terrariums are enjoying a huge resurgence, so why not fill one with festive foliage and the simplicity of natural materials for your table centre? Why not gather holly and ivy from your garden and pair them with winter cyclamen, fir and conifer sprays, eucalyptus, and mistletoe and use them as a table focal point for Christmas festivities? Not only can this be used again with different plants, but it can also be themed for other seasonal days like Easter or Mother’s Day.

On the 10th day of Christmas: A living gift of the Christmas Rose

The Hellebore or Christmas/Lenten Rose is a popular festive plant, flowering in winter and early spring and would make the perfect living gift for a loved one. Its elegant flowers and attractive leathery leaves will brighten the garden during Christmas and is a long-lasting and kind gesture that will see this present admired far beyond a week or two.

Hellebores are versatile plants to have over the winter period, providing much-needed blooms during shorter and darker days. They can be enjoyed in pots indoors to bring nature into the home, in a container on the patio, and then planted out in garden borders to be enjoyed for many seasons to come. They thrive in semi-shade and well-drained spots and are hardy plants that can grow into a bush that produces white flowers in the depths of winter.

On the 11th day of Christmas: Replace fake fir


Nothing evokes the spirit of Christmas more than the scent of fresh pine, making a real cut or potted trees a fully biodegradable choice for your celebrations. Real trees have a smaller carbon footprint compared to artificial trees which are often manufactured abroad and made of plastic that is hard to break down.  It is estimated that there are 6-8 million Christmas trees thrown out every year.

Look for pot-grown trees in your local garden centre. This means that each tree is supplied to your in the pot it was grown in, meaning less root disturbance and a healthier tree.  Once the tree has been the focal point of your living room for the Christmas celebrations, you can plant it yourself in your garden for a while and use it again next Christmas.

On the 12th day of Christmas – Reuse and reduce

To reduce the amount of waste going into landfill Christmas after Christmas, invest in items that can be reused or repurposed giving you more value for money each year. You don’t need paper napkins or table runners each year, instead invest in fabric items such as tablecloths, throws and cushions that can be used for multiple gatherings.

How many of us go overboard on food shopping just because it’s Christmas? Then end up eating cold meat sandwiches for weeks and have a cupboard full of chocolates we don’t need?  Only buy what you think your guests will consume to avoid having to throw away a glut of food.

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