Christmas is one of the best times of the year for football fans with games nearly every day from Boxing Day till New Year! There are so many fixtures for us to enjoy throughout the festive period! However, the Christmas period can have a significant impact on our planet, so what are the best things we can do as football fans to reduce our impact?

First up Christmas gifts. We all love getting a new football strip for Christmas from our favourite team. Although some club’s shirts are now made with recycled materials, buying something second hand is even better for the environment. Why not look online for second hand retro shirts? For example, eBay or Facebook Marketplace. Imagine how great it would be to receive a shirt from a memorable year!

Other Christmas gifts that could help the planet include sustainable products branded with your loved one’s favourite football club. This could include reusable coffee cups, reusable water bottles or a sentimental gift. For example, Jenny, one of the Pledgeball team, was gifted a bracelet made from fishing nets reclaimed from the sea in Werder Bremen colours.

Now Christmas doesn’t have to always be about football so we would like to add in a couple of general sustainable Christmas tips, starting with decorations. It’s so easy to buy plastic, one-use decorations as they are everywhere. Something that I’ve enjoyed doing during the lockdown last year and building up to Christmas this year is making my own decorations. It was very therapeutic and something pleasant to do after a day at work. I made a wreath from paper straws and greenery that I foraged and a string of cardboard star decorations. They were really simple, and I just followed tutorials online.

Other more sustainable ways to decorate include buying second-hand decorations either online or in second-hand shops or buying decorations from local makers. 

Also, an easy win at Christmas is using wrapping paper that is recyclable so then it doesn’t end up in landfill. Paper that has glitter, foil and other non-paper decoration is generally unrecyclable. A quick way of testing the recyclability of paper is to scrunch it up. If it stays scrunched, then it is very likely recyclable. Also, paper tape is a great alternative to Sellotape!

Another significant part of Christmas that has a big impact on the planet is food. Every year in the UK we throw away mounds of food at Christmas and there are some small things that we can do to reduce this dramatically. One of the things we can do is find recipes online that help to use up leftovers! These could include Turkey and the trimmings sandwiches, Christmas vegetable soup or saving the meat in the freezer to use in pasta or curry dishes etc, the options are endless! 

Before I end this blog, as we are obsessed with football at Pledgeball, it seems only right to end on another football themed tip and that is on travelling to games at Christmas (and the rest of the year!) Why not use such a busy period of fixtures to try new, more sustainable ways of getting to a match, such as travelling by train, bus, car share or even biking or walking? Many clubs from Premier League to non-league give advice on their website on how to get to their stadium using public or active transport. Some clubs have gone further, Brentford FC have more than 300 cycle parking spaces at their ground and Brighton and Hove Albion tickets allow for free travel on buses around Brighton and Hove and even travel from slightly further away. Getting a supporter’s bus to away games is also a great way to reduce your impact!

Now, we’ve given you a whole list of more sustainable options for Christmas, but you don’t have to take on board every single one, feel free to pick one or two things to try, doing any of these things will reduce your carbon emissions and score a goal for the planet! 

Happy Christmas from the Pledgeball Team!