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How to Celebrate a Low-Waste Christmas with Small Kids

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Hello Mamas, today, I just want to share with you some tips on how to celebrate a low-waste Christmas with small kids.

I know it’s difficult to think of having a low-waste Christmas especially with small kids who love to have a LOT of gifts or for us parents who want to give a LOT of gifts to our kids, but there’s always a way around it.

And we should always remember that our aim here is not perfection, but to do the best we can to make Christmas less wasteful, as much as possible.

8 Tips to Celebrate a Low-Waste Christmas with Small Kids

Celebrating a low-waste Christmas with small kids is possible. Here are some tips: reuse the Christmas decorations from previous years, and get a sustainable Christmas tree, don’t use plastic plates, cups, and utensils during Christmas gatherings, and just prepare enough food. Moreover, don’t give your kids a lot of gifts, reuse old gift wrappers or opt for sustainable alternatives and always remember that you don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. Last but not the least, make Jesus the center of your Christmas celebration.

1. Reuse the Christmas decorations from previous years.

I am sure you already have Christmas decorations from previous years, feel free to use them again and again.

It can surely feel boring to be using the same things over and over again, but we can make them look new every year by changing the arrangements, style, etc. Use Pinterest for inspiration.

I have a box and a pillowcase bag labeled “Christmas Decors” that I store in the garage. I have accumulated them in our 5 years of marriage and I just reuse them every year and add some items when I feel like buying something additional. But this year, I didn’t buy any add-ons.

I assure you, your toddlers will never notice if the decorations are the same from previous years and not even if they’re the same set-up as before. All they want is to touch whatever is being set up, so expect some damage. 🙂

If you’re worried about what others would think about having the same decorations or the same set-up, you always have the choice not to post photos on social media, so people won’t know.:) But really, they won’t even notice if you opt to post, too.

2. Get a sustainable Christmas tree.

A sustainable tree doesn’t necessarily mean a real tree, it actually differs in every home, depending on the circumstances.

According to Naturally Modern Life, a sustainable Christmas tree is the tree that already exists. If you already have a plastic tree, then it’s a sustainable option for you. Keep on reusing it.

If you live near a farm or a place with an abundance of pine trees, then go for a real one. Check out the articles for more ideas and tips on the sustainable tree that is right for your home.

Real pine tree as a Christmas tree decorated with decors from previous years.
Our Christmas tree 2021 – a real pine tree decorated with decors from previous years. Not very presentable, but didn’t change it because my boys decorated it with so much enthusiasm and love.

We always opt for a real tree because we have it in abundance on the bee farm. The husband chooses a tree every year and after using it, he brings it back to the bee farm to compost it naturally.

3. Don’t use plastic plates, cups, and utensils during Christmas gatherings.

Refrain from using those single-use plastics plates, cups, and utensils that you can readily buy from the stores. Use the real ones you have at home.

One tip so you’re not going to be tempted to use the plastic ones to avoid a LOT of dishes to wash later on is not to invite a lot of guests at one time!

If you have a lot of family and friends, invite them by batches. Or if you want to invite them all at the same time, borrow more plates and utensils if you need more, instead of buying plastic ones.

My husband is not a fan of huge gatherings. We once held a gathering of about 40 people or more during the baptism of #1, though it was fun because the more the merrier, but we were not able to talk to all of them sincerely.

After that, we decided that we’re not going to invite a lot of people at the same time anymore. Max of 12 adults because a lesser number of guests means deeper and meaningful conversations, which is very good especially if you don’t see them so often.

We decided that 12 is the max number because it’s also the max number of plates we have.:) We have only one set of plates for all occasions. We don’t have a different set for everyday use, special events, etc.

We bought stainless steel plates and cups for the kids from Decathlon and it’s really a good idea because they have been dropped many times, but they remain intact and indestructible.

4. Prepare just enough food.

Don’t go overboard with your food preparations. Though I understand because I always have the fear that “what if it won’t be enough”, but in every gathering that we had in the past, there was always a leftover even if I think there was not enough food for all.

Just prepare enough food - another tip on how to celebrate a low-waste Christmas with small kids.

Preparing food for small kids is easy because they’re very predictable with their choices. And besides, they’ll be more excited to open the gifts or eat dessert than to eat the main dish. So, it’s very probable that they’ll eat less.

I’m thinking of trying another dish or two from the compilation of 36 Easy Kid-Friendly Make-Ahead Meals For Busy Moms. All the dishes I tried so far from the list were approved by both my husband and kids!

5. Don’t give your kids a LOT of Christmas gifts.

Your small kids will not know the difference if you give them one, three, five, or ten gifts. Even if you give them a lot of gifts, they will only play with the ones they really like. So, it’s better to give them few gifts, but those that they really love or want.

If you are still looking for Christmas gift ideas for your kids, make sure to check out this post: 100+ Useful Non-Toy Gift Ideas For Kids. It is a massive list of gift ideas for kids of things that they’ll surely love.

Christmas gifts

Our kids are not going to receive gifts from us during Christmas though, because here in Spain, kids receive their gifts on January 6, during the Three Kings Celebration.

They will receive small gifts though (like candies) during Christmas from Caga Tio in the house of their grandparents (my husband’s parents). Caga Tio (Tió de Nadal) is a Catalan mythological character who poops sweets for kids during Christmas.

6. Reuse old gift wrappers or use sustainable alternatives.

In connection with #5, your toddlers will not know if you use old gift wrappers for their gifts.

If you kept paper bags with beautiful prints from previous purchases, then they can surely be used. It will be easier for the kids to open them and if they are destroyed, then you can keep on reusing them.

I have a collection of old gift wrappers and flower wrappers (yes those wrappers used to wrap the gifted potted plants), then I reuse them in wrapping the gifts for my kids, and so far no one has complained that the wrapper was old.

Last Sunday, we celebrated the 2nd birthday of #2 and I was wrapping the two gifts that we bought for him. The old wrappers I have were small, so I used the blue roll of table cover made of paper that we bought for his baptism party 2 years ago (it was a huge roll and we were not able to use it all because there was still some leftover from #1’s baptism).

gifts wrapped using a left-over table cover for a low-waste Christmas with small kids.
These are the gifts for #2 wrapped in a left-over table cover from his baptism 2 years ago.

So, I used it to wrap the gifts and not one of the guests commented that the gift wrapper I used was a table cover. No one knew (now they will if they come here and read, which I am not sure of).

The kids didn’t take a look at the wrappers, all they want is to tear them as fast as they can to get hold of the gifts. So, feel free to reuse those old gift wrappers, your little ones will never know and will not mind at all.

7. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses.

I like this idiom a lot! And I just learned about this idiom a few years ago while reading some blogs. And with social media nowadays, it’s very easy for us to have access to what the “Joneses” are doing and having, so, the chances of wanting to keep up with the Joneses are very high.

Refrain from looking at social media channels if that’s what will help you to avoid keeping up with the Joneses.

8. Make Jesus the center of your Christmas celebration.


Tell your kids early on that Jesus is the reason for the season. When we focus more on Jesus during Christmas, we also tend to be less wasteful because we are no longer focused on buying a lot of things and preparing a lot of food.

Related post:

How to Celebrate a Christ-centered Christmas as Catholics with Small Kids

Final Thoughts

I hope that these 8 tips on how to celebrate a low-waste Christmas with small kids will be of help as you try to do your best to be less wasteful this Christmas.

Just remember Mamas not to be stressed if we can’t achieve our low-waste Christmas goal because it’s definitely not easy to achieve especially with small kids. Our aim here is to do it one small step at a time, one less waste at a time.

Do you have more tips for a low-waste Christmas that are not on my list? Please feel free to share them in the comment section below.

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