How to give greener gifts this Christmas

We'll soon be generating enough Christmas waste to create a wrapping paper trail to the moon. CAFOD's Becky Such shares a few ideas which won't harm the environment and which could change lives.

Christmas is the time for giving and receiving, of sharing good food with the people we love, and of showing our gratitude for the year we’ve had.

On the other hand, it inevitably becomes a time of great waste. Most of us end up buying so much food we can’t eat it all and a host of gifts remain unopened and unused by the receiver.

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Many of us have found that the coronavirus pandemic has given us time to consider how we can live more sustainably and are making more of an effort than ever to have a green Christmas. If we weren't sure last year, the news has been filled with headlines around the climate crisis this year and now is the time to make a difference.

Here at CAFOD we have come up with the waste-free answer. Our range of life-changing World Gifts help people living in poverty across the world, and don’t leave your loved one with yet another pair of socks, or some bubble bath when they don’t even have a bath!

The Facts of Christmas Waste

In the UK, an estimated 1 billion cards go in the bin when they could be recycled, and that’s just over the Christmas period. Generally, cards can be recycled, but it's estimated an astonishing 227,000 miles of wrapping paper are thrown away each year in the UK - that’s from here to the Moon!

Going Green with World Gifts

So we’ve come up with an eCard option so that you can go completely paperless this Christmas! It looks just the same as our printed card, with a beautiful nativity scene on the front. It’s then animated to open the card and reveal a case study, an explanation of the gift you’ve chosen and your personalised message inside.

Our gifts don’t need wrapping either. Whether you choose an eCard or not, your gifts fund people in need - no wasted paper here!

We have a selection of gifts which are particularly green – so for your particularly climate change savvy loved ones, here are a few ideas.

Fight fires in the Amazon

This unique gift can pay for essential tools such as hoes, sickles and hammers to enable indigenous fire brigades to manage the land they live on, preventing fires from starting or spreading.

With the climate crisis making the summers hotter and drier, fires are happening more often, and this gift is needed more than ever.


By choosing this gift you are standing with people battling on the frontline of the climate crisis.

Solar Lamps

These lamps are a brilliant replacement for smoky lamps fuelled by expensive kerosene or for trying to work by the light of a wood fire.

With solar lamps, not only are they better for the planet, but the people using them can breathe freely.


These lights are particularly helpful for children trying to do their homework at night, but also allow families to cook and clean without having to breathe in dangerous fumes.

What’s more, the only fuel they require is the sun, which is free to everyone! 

Weatherproof Crops

When crops fail due to extreme weather, poor families in rural areas go hungry.

This gift can provide essential training, seeds from different strains of local crops that can survive longer without water, as well as teaching how to grow plants raised above floodwater areas.

Click here for more information on CAFOD's green gifts.