7 ways to have an animal-friendly Xmas

The holidays are coming and that means it’s time to prepare for the festive season. But it is possible to have a fabulous, fun-filled Christmas while still being animal and environmentally friendly too!

In line with our priorities for the next 10 years, the RSPCA is trying to be as sustainable as possible. So as this weekend marks just six weeks to go until Christmas, if you want to have a magical holiday that is also animal-friendly and environment-friendly, here are our top tips:

  1. Reindeer food

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 we’ve developed some special wildlife-friend reindeer food recipes so you can leave treats out for Rudolph and his friends, while also ensuring other animals are safe!

RSPCA’s reindeer food mix recipe:

  • A handful of wild bird seed (which may include sunflower hearts, naked rolled oats, dried mealworms, yellow millet, kibbled peanuts and black sunflower seeds);

  • A few rolled oats;

  • Some dried fruit, like cranberries (don’t use grapes, raisins, sultanas or currants if you have dogs as they can be poisonous);

  • Some dried insects (try mealworms and waxworms);

  • Some grated cheese;

  • A hint of chilli powder to keep Rudolph’s nose glowing red (don’t worry, birds can’t taste it but it will stop squirrels and rodents from stealing the food before Rudolph arrives!)

Mix it all together; sprinkle it on your lawn, on a bird table or leave it in a bowl by your front door just before you go to bed. Follow our AnimalTV video tutorial on Youtube.

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

In 2019, the RSPCA took the step to remove 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, crackdown on dangerous plastics that are impacting our environment.

We’re also offering plastic-free eco Christmas crackers which contain a wooden puzzle or toy gift inside and use packaging that is fully recyclable, completely acetate-free and plastic-free. 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.

  1. 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 while supporting your favourite charitable causes!

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 here – and don’t forget to donate any unwanted Christmas gifts to us after the holidays too!

  1. DIY pet gifts

An RSPCA 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.

We have lots of pet-friendly gifts in our 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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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 high salt content.]

  1. Make a donation!

You could support our work this Christmas by shopping with us for stocking fillers, Secret Santa gifts or presents for your loved-ones. View our Christmas catalogue online or visit the online shop to see all of the gifts we have available. Or, if you’d like to give someone a gift that’s even more meaningful, why not sign them up as a sponsor or make a donation in their name?

To Join the Christmas Rescue and help our rescuers be there for the animals in need this winter, please visit www.rspca.org.uk/rescuexmas.