Dreaming of a sustainable Christmas?

We all dream of implementing more sustainable habits into our lives but how do we do this at Christmas? Here is our list of our top tips on how to have an ethical and sustainable Christmas!

Buy local

By buying local, you’re reducing your own carbon footprint; this could be by driving less miles to a shopping center or by not ordering products from overseas which would then need to be shipped or flown to you. Not only are you reducing your carbon footprint; you are also supporting your local economy and promoting trade in your area. It’s about the community; what can you do to support your local economy. Not only does buying local reduce the carbon footprint of the goods that you buy, but also the money that you spend gets quickly recycled back into the local community in the wages that are paid to the makers of the products that you buy.

Buy well, buy once

Choose quality over quantity. Value is the balance of cost over quality; when the quality of the gift allows them to last for years they become incredibly good value – even if they cost a little bit more.



There are so many benefits to shopping intentionally, these include: lessening the carbon footprint of your wardrobe, saving you money long term, avoiding landfill contribution, and becoming more aware of responsible shopping. Did you know that a t-shirt worn and washed 50 times makes a carbon footprint of 15kg CO2 in its lifetime? But the emissions from 50 t-shirts worn just once is a massive 368kg CO2. Moreover, a recent study suggests that on average a t-shirt only lasts 4 washes; if washed correctly, we expect our tees to last well beyond 100 washes. How’s that for cost per wear?

Shop small

Many small business’ that survived Covid-19 may be struggling to stay afloat, by shopping small this Christmas you are supporting these business’ that rely on the Christmas season to boost their sales and get them through January (we all know January is a scary time for sellers). This is why, as of this year, English Fine Cottons products are being made available at local independent shops to support those local specialist retailers who offer the best of service; consistently looking after their customers.

Rethink wrapping

Wrapping paper is incredibly popular and horrifyingly wasteful. What an alarming amount of people don’t know is that wrapping paper is, most of the time, single use. Not only is it single use, but some gift wrapping is not even recyclable due to its designs often having foil or glitter or it still having the tape attached. Where does this wrapping paper go? Into the paper bin, where it can prevent otherwise recyclable paper from being recycled. Educating yourself on what you can and can’t recycle (the scrunch test is a good place to start) or foregoing wrapping in its entirety, will enable you to play your part in preventing the estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away per annum.

So, you still want to use wrapping paper? We get it. This isn’t supposed to make you feel bad or say that everyone else is doing better; it’s to open your eyes to issues so that you can go on to do your own research and find your own personalised way to have the most sustainable Christmas that you can. So here are a few tips to get you going:


  • Opt for twine and string as opposed to tape and bows- you can even learn to fold your paper in a way to keep it together without the need for sticking them.
  • Open the wrapping paper carefully and collect it after you open your presents and either: recycle them, re-use them next year or re-use them in craft projects such as making your own Christmas cards (another wasteful part of Christmas) or in the background of scrap books. Think of fun and engaging ways you can turn them into art!
  • Buy recycled wrapping paper; the more that people do this, the more it creates a demand for it, which in turn, reduces the demand for deforestation and virgin paper. Get creative with what you use for your wrapping. Old newspapers are a great way to do this!

Gift an experience

Who said Christmas was about material goods? Gift the gift of time or fun to your loved ones. There are so many ways that you can spend time with them, breaking away from the tradition of a pair of socks and a bottle of gin. Honestly, wouldn’t you rather go for food (and support your local restaurants) with your loved ones rather than buy them the same bottle of perfume you do every year?

There are endless gifts like this such as a spa day, a haircut, a hotel stay, a massage, a dinner, or a yoga retreat. These gifts are relative to them, for example, if your parents love walking; you could get them a joint present such as a getaway in the Lake District or a National Trust card.



What about arranging a tour of a textile mill? With Quarry bank mill being a part of the national trust, we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit and see how textiles were made when the UK was the forefront of the textile and garment industries. The museum of science and industry is great for this too! Also, in 2022, we are intending to arrange tours of our cotton mill, once again at Tower Mill. Look out for details as we approach spring. We’ve missed showing you all around!

Make your own

Making your own gifts can be a fun and challenging experience or a chance to test your skills. What about the traditional skills of knitting, crochet and sewing? If you’re not wanting to test yourself, then here are a couple of simple ideas for you to try:

  • Macramé planter: simply buy some twine/ rope like thread and follow your preferred tutorial – start off as beginner or challenge yourself to a more advanced pattern! Alternatively, you can cut up thin lengths of recycled or ethically sourced fabric and use that as your material.
  • Rice bag warmers: Do you know someone who suffers with back pain or consistent headaches? Rice bag warmers might be the perfect home-made gift. To make one of these, you simply need some recycled or unused fabric, uncooked rice, 15 drops of essential oil with needle and thread! To increase the quality of your gift why not try our luxury shirting fabrics available at English Fine Cottons and keep an eye out for our fabric on rolls!

With fabric homemade gifts ensure that you’re using your old, unused, or ethically sourced materials.

Be sure to let us know if you have made any of your own gifts this year on Instagram by tagging us @englishfinecottons or using the hashtag #madeinbritainstartshere – we would love to see what you create.

From all of us here at English Fine Cottons, have a wonderful Christmas!

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