Other eco-friendly Christmas ideas, such as making your own decorations, will also help pennies in your piggy bank and go a long way to teaching your children to be more environmentally and financially responsible.
Christmas can often feel like it is all about consumerism, with the number of presents under a tree dominating festivities. That doesn't have to be the case though.
Follow in the lead of international NGO Oxfam and buy a present that really makes a difference to someone's life.
On behalf of a friend or family member (who receive a card) you can buy a goat for $39. That goat is given to a family living in poverty in a developing country and can be milked, used for breeding or even sold to pay for school fees or tools.
Other Oxfam items that help those in need include a well in Sri Lanka, or more accurately the funding for one to be built, providing access to clean water, as well as high-quality fruit tree seeds for farmers in East Timor and contributing to a women's literacy program in Papua New Guinea.
Another great idea is adopting an orphaned or injured animal on behalf of someone you love.
Through Orangutan Appeal UK you can adopt an orangutan being cared for at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo, Malaysia.
You can also purchase an adoption gift through Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia, with all money donated going directly to the care and rehabilitation of the sick and mistreated primates.
If you decide to go traditional and buy your mum a book or dad his favourite DVD, instead of using Christmas paper, wrap the present with Christmas-themed material that you can reuse year after year.
We may enjoy a sweltering Christmas Day where pool- or beach-time is mandatory, but some of us prefer to celebrate like those in the north and swap seafood for a roast dinner.
If that's you, you can order RSPCA-approved turkey, chicken, pork and eggs. These products fall under the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, which means they have been produced and raised under high animal welfare standards. Look for the RSPCA paw logo on such products at supermarkets and butchers.
You can also make your Christmas feast environmentally friendly by purchasing locally-grown produce. That way you'll be reducing your carbon footprint by ordering off your local butcher or greengrocer and you'll be putting money back into the local community.
For dessert, check out the Lions Christmas Cake Program (lionsclubs.org.au/cakes) through which you can order a premium dark fruit cake or a traditional steamed pudding.
It's tempting to cover your Christmas tree with handmade wooden reindeer and crystal snowflakes but not only are these types of decorations usually expensive but they don't help with any eco intentions.
Instead, spend a weekend or two with the children in your family making decorations.
Christmas cards grandma and aunt Gertrude are still posting to you can be hung along a piece of string across a room and can replace tinsel.
Cards from previous festive seasons can be rolled into cylinders and tied at both ends with ribbon to look like bon bons, or even shaped into baubles.
Use magazine clippings and glue to create link chains or cut out Christmas shapes like stars and angels from red, green and white cardboard to hang from your tree.
Eggs can also be turned into decorations - pierce a small hole through both ends of an egg, blow the egg white and yolk through the bottom hole and once empty and dry thread through some string for hanging and hand-paint the shell.
Although posting Christmas cards is a sweet tradition, try sending an e-card instead.
Hallmark Australia has got onboard with this trend and offers free e-cards for any occasion where you can create your own personal message.
Alternatively you can send everyone in your contacts list an email or post a `merry Christmas' message on your Facebook page.
For those who enjoy crafts, make your own cards by either using recycled paper or blank paper you can decorate.
Ah, the tree. There is much debate over whether buying a real pine tree is better or not than supporting the plastic (read non-decomposable) tree industry.
No matter which way you swing, how about decorating an indoor pot plant as an alternative?
Whether it's a palm, hibiscus or even a lime, your Christmas tree can be something that won't be left dying on the footpath or stuffed into a box headed for the attic.
If you buy a new tree, you can plant it in the backyard come New Year's or keep it in a pot on the balcony to use again the following Christmas.
You can also opt to fill a tall vase with spindly tree branches to go for that simple but chic look. Spray paint the branches white or gold to add some pizzazz to your lounge room.
By Jennifer Ennion