Oxfordshire Branch

Seven ways to have an animal-friendly Christmas

As the advert goes… Holidays are coming and that means it's time to prepare for the festive season. BUT you can have a fabulous, fun-filled Christmas AND still be animal and environmentally friendly too!

In line with the RSPCA’s priorities for the next 10 years, we're trying to be as sustainable as possible. So here are our top tips on how to have a magical Christmas that is also animal-friendly and environment-friendly:

1. Reindeer food

It’s a wonderful and exciting thing to do with children, and you can buy reindeer food from lots of shops and websites but many of these contain ingredients that aren't environmentally friendly and can actually be dangerous for animals (particularly edible glitter!) So, RSPCA HQ has developed some special wildlife-friendly reindeer food recipes so you can embrace the festive fun while also ensuring other animals are safe!

So check out the recipe and watch the how-to video for a family-fun day making some delicious treats for Rudolph and his friends!

2. Glitter-free cards, plastic-free crackers and recyclable wrapping paper

In 2019, the RSPCA removed glitter and foil from our FSC certified Christmas cards to ensure they were more environmentally friendly. This is part of our pledge to reduce waste and non-recyclable content, and crackdown on dangerous plastics that are impacting our environment.

We'd urge shoppers to check the wrapping paper they're buying and using is fully recyclable and also doesn't use any harmful finishes such as glitter or foil.

 3. Choose a high-welfare dinner

Make the higher welfare choice and make a difference for farm animals by looking out for the RSPCA Assured logo when you shop this Christmas to ensure you're supporting the farmers who are dedicated to improving farm animal welfare. We have a huge range of Assured-labelled products to guarantee you have a delectable Christmas from high-welfare turkey to pigs in blankets and smoked salmon.

4. Leftovers for wildlife

You can still help animals once Christmas dinner is over by giving your leftovers to wildlife:

  • Turkey (deboned, without gravy, in small amounts) - foxes, badgers, dogs and cats
  • Potatoes (boiled, baked, roasted or mashed) - birds and badgers
  • Peas and sprouts - badgers and foxes
  • Carrots - badgers, foxes and dogs
  • Christmas cake and mince pies (unsweetened pastry) - birds (crumbed)
  • Unsalted nuts and savoury snacks - garden birds (chopped and crushed)
  • Cheese - birds and badgers (grated).

Processed meats (like pigs in blankets) and stuffing aren’t suitable for any animals due to the high salt content.

5. Second-hand gifts

Charity shops have been an iconic part of our high streets for many years and, today, they offer a fabulous way to shop. You could pick up a bargain, ensure an item is recycled and used again, all the while supporting your favourite charity! 

Did you know that it's estimated each charity shop saves 29 tonnes of textiles from ending up in landfill each year? With around 300 RSPCA charity shops, that's around 8,700 tonnes saved (the equivalent of over 1,200 African elephants!). It's also estimated that a 10% increase in second-hand sales could save 3% carbon waste, 4% water waster and 1% waste per tonne of clothing; it really can make a difference.

Plus, our charity shops are full of hidden treasures and wonderful gifts from toys and games to high street fashion and designer goods, household items, and much, much more. You could pick up all of your Christmas shopping in just one of our charity shops; and all while helping us to continue fighting animal cruelty! 

Find your local shop and pop down for a browse - and don't forget to donate any items that have been upgraded over Christmas to us after the holidays too!

6. DIY pet gifts

A survey found that 83% of animal-lovers will buy their pet a Christmas present and more than half of those who took part admitted they'd be getting their furry, feathered or scaly friend a stocking to celebrate the festive season.

There are lots of pet-friendly gifts in the RSPCA shop and lots of ideas for those owners who would rather make something out of bits and pieces they can find around their house instead:

7. Make a donation!

If you'd like to give someone a gift that's truly meaningful, why not sign them up as a sponsor or Join the Rescue and make a donation in their name?

We hope these tips and tricks make for a truly Merry Christmas for you and your pet friends!