Christmas and all its commercialism can often have a significant impact, both in terms of single-use plastics and adding to our carbon footprint.

Be more sustainable by shopping at local outlets for all your Christmas produce needs - why not team up with neighbours and buy in bulk? Picture: GettyBe more sustainable by shopping at local outlets for all your Christmas produce needs - why not team up with neighbours and buy in bulk? Picture: Getty

But there are things we can all do as an individual and with our family to reduce our personal effect on the environment by giving a little thought to making the festive season as plastic free as possible.

We asked Plastic Free North Devon and Torridge to give us their top tips on a plastic free Christmas, as well as how to reduce our carbon footprints.

Here are some tips we can all apply to reduce our environmental impact this Christmas.

If you're having a party, do away with single-use plastics by hiring re-usable glasses from Plastic Free North Devon? Picture: PFNDIf you're having a party, do away with single-use plastics by hiring re-usable glasses from Plastic Free North Devon? Picture: PFND

SHOP LOCAL

It sounds simple, and it is. So many businesses are registered with Plastic Free North Devon and Torridge and have committed to reducing their use of plastics.

Visit your local shops and markets for your festive shop - if possible, try to walk there, or at least buy your produce in one trip or, better yet, one location.

Plus, why not join forces with family, friends and neighbours and place bulk orders for food with your local butcher or greengrocer? As well as reducing your carbon footprint, there's a good chance you'll get a better price, too.

PARTY SENSIBLY

Plastic Free North Devon has 600 reusable pint-sized cups to hire for parties instead of endless single-use plastic cups. Find out more on their Facebook page, and there are also other companies in the area that rent out reusable party kits.

THAT'S A WRAP

Many Christmas gift wraps and ribbons have plastic in and are not widely recycled. A much more eco-friendly idea is to wrap your gifts with brown parcel paper and string. It's cheaper and can be recycled, and you can use prints and stamps to create your own unique DIY wrapping paper. If you're really feeling creative, potato prints are the latest designer craze - you'll need a spud, a blunt knife to carve your festive design and a vegetable based ink to make your print.

NATURAL DECORATIONS

Why go for tinsel and plastic baubles when you can create beautiful Christmas decorations from nature? Pine cones, cinnamon sticks, dried fruit, sprigs of holly and mistletoe all make for cheap yet classy décor.

Why not find a local workshop and create your own Christmas wreath, too?

GIFTS

Reusable mugs, bottles, lunchboxes, cutlery and straws are on a trend right now and make for excellent gifts. Give gifts people will be able to use and make your stocking fillers.

Another option is to give your nearest and dearest experiences rather than material things - tickets to see their favourite band, a meal out, trips to the cinema or even an animal experience such as a bird-of-prey experience with a local attraction.

SEASON'S GREETINGS

You can order cards printed on recycled, uncoated cardboard.

If you want to cut out the waste altogether, send an e-greeting or donate the money you would spend on cards to a charity of your choice.

For more plastic free news and tips, visit the Plastic Free North Devon Facebook page.