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Top tips for a sustainable Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas so the Sustainable Development Team here at NTU have come up with a few ways to keep your Christmas as sustainable as possible, saving you some pennies along the way! We’d love to see pictures of how you did your bit over the festive period so show us at @NTUEnvironment and use #NTUChristmas


Whilst we are all at home tucking into our locally sourced Christmas pudding (we’ll get onto that later) we want the University buildings to be using as little energy as possible - so remember, before you leave the office, workshop or lecture theatre:

  • Turn off what you can. Phone and laptop chargers can be turned off at the socket, as can monitors but base units (including all in one devices) should be left switched on at the socket just shut down as you would at the end of any working day.
  • Clear out the fridge: Make sure the kitchen fridge is empty, it can then be switched off over the break; be sure to leave the door ajar to avoid any nasty smells or mould (you might want to leave some cloths nearby, if you have a freezer compartment, for when the ice melts)
Wooden Christmas doll decorations


O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches? Well even lovelier if you follow our decoration top tips:

  • The tree: One Montreal study highlighted that it would take 20 years of use of an artificial tree to make it more sustainable than a fresh tree. After the season you can repot your tree or even break it down for mulch and composting doing your garden the world of good.
  • When you are adding your sparkle with Christmas lights make sure that they are LED, they twinkle just as bright and can save you money on your energy costs
  • Whilst we are on the subject of Christmas lights, don’t forget to switch the lights off when you are out and why not use a timer? You will be safe in the knowledge that whilst you are out and about in the day your lights are safely off, but ready to twinkle again when night falls.
  • When you are decorating your house, why not look for sustainably sourced decorations? They might be locally sourced, Fairtrade accredited, you could even have a go at upcycling and make some of your own!
  • Don’t forget about outside. If you have a tree in your garden why not decorate it for the birds? Make birdcake and hang it from the branches, it’s a great activity that everyone can enjoy getting involved with


If you are heading to see your loved ones this Christmas, keep watch on how your journey can be as quick and pain free as possible with the following links:

If you have family close by, why not wrap up in those festive jumpers, hats and gloves and enjoy a walk? It’s an easy way to fit in a little exercise over the festive period. If you are interested in Christmas walks take a look at the National Trust website.

Nottingham Christmas Market


Have you been naughty or nice?

  • Shop locally - Nottingham is full of local independent businesses with great products to wow your friends and family. You can even shop with them online! If you are lucky enough to be at Brackenhurst Campus why not visit the Christmas market.
  • If you do have time to take in the Nottingham sights, try hunting out some of the local independent shops
  • If your sending something for a loved one with a sweet tooth, have a look for Fairtrade items to help support the Fairtrade Foundation.
  • Wrapping up all your presents may take some time but you can make it fun and environmentally friendly by getting the family involved. Say no to foil and glittery wrapping. Use brown wrapping paper, grab the paints and go back to your school days with potato printing, it's great fun and gives a personal touch to your gift giving

Christmas Cards

  • Why not send an ecard to family and friends further afield? You can even personalise some free ecards online
  • If you are sending traditional cards this year, most charities produce their own so whoever you want to support you can take a look on their website to see how you can help.
  • Save your cards this year to make present labels for next year!

Food and drink

‘O bring us some figgy pudding!’ It is so easy to indulge in lots of lovely Christmas treats and we have a few top tips to support the community whilst sampling your favourite foods and drinks:

  • Locally sourced: Do you have a farm shop, local butchers or local fruit and vegetable shop? All you need to do is search online for ‘farm shop near me’ and the Christmas magic will list your closest shop for all the best seasonal treats.
  • If you use a retailer that sells ethical sourced products why not opt for Fairtrade, Red Tractor meats or MCS fish, there are many options available for a range of products, keep your eyes open
  • Portion sizes: If you need help making sure everyone has enough without having mountains left over, head over to the ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ website. You will find portion sizing tips as well as advice on what to do with your leftovers…turkey curry anyone?
  • Make use of your Christmas dinner peelings by putting them in the composter!

Thinking of others

Whilst many people will be surrounded by family and friends, there are many people who will be alone this Christmas. Community Christmas lists events close to you, wherever you are in the country, that support people over the festive period; so if you have time to spare why not give a helping hand and make someone smile.

New Year’s Resolutions

Make your department sustainable in 2019 and keep up to date with the university sustainability journey on the website or email

If you have ideas on how to get sustainable this Christmas let us know on Twitter @NTUEnvironment or via email.