Something that’s been weighing on my mind is how much waste is created each holiday. I feel torn between wanting my children to have the toys they want for Christmas and buying all the things, but worrying about the environmental impact of shopping/consuming. Beyond that, the season has a lot of celebrations, and with those come gift wrap, travel, single-use plastics and more. I’ve been thinking about ways to be “greener” this holiday season, and while I know I won’t be perfect in accomplishing most of these tips, I want to share ideas on how to create less waste and be more eco-friendly while celebrating. You don’t have to be perfect, and there’s already a lot of stress sometimes that comes with the holidays, but if we can implement even one or two of these ideas we can reduce our footprint this season.
Eco-Friendly Holiday Tips
- Use eco-friendly/recycled gift wrap, or reuse gift bags from previous years. You could also be more minimalistic and skip the extra ribbons, tags and bows.
- Skip gift wrap altogether. If Santa visits your home, you can get a gift bag from Santa’s workshop and put each person’s gifts in there. It can be reused each year and some sites let you personalize them.
- Ask for and gift more experiences and subscriptions vs. physical gifts.
- Grab a reusable cup for your coffee runs. (Or keep making it at home!)
- Order holiday cards from a sustainable company/using recycled paper. After I ordered our cards I realized I should have looked into any companies that use recycled paper. I came across Paper Culture. They say they plant trees with every order and use sustainable materials, as well as offset their carbon footprint. (I don’t know much about this site other than that, so research whether it works for you.) E-cards are another eco-friendly option.
- Replace broken holiday lights with LED energy-efficient lighting.
- Offset your holiday travel. You could even purchase gift cards for carbon offsets for the people in your life.
- Don’t use single-use plastics for your holiday gatherings, and if you must, purchase those made from recycled materials. Preserve sells cutlery and plates that are recycled and I’m sure there are more companies out there that do the same.
- Be more intentional in your shopping. Don’t gift items just to have something for a person, but think about what they truly use and want. If you can’t think of anything, consider a gift card or experience. Also think about the durability of an item and its disposal. A cheap item may seem like a great deal, but it’s not if it must be replaced within a short time.
- Shop secondhand for your holiday attire.
- Bring reusable bags while shopping.
- Recycle/compost your tree, if possible.
- Purchase local and organic produce for your holiday dishes. These vegetables/fruits don’t travel as far to get to you, and often taste better, in my opinion.
- Consider giving edible gifts vs. other items.
- Donate or recycle old electronics.
- Take public transportation as much as possible while shopping or traveling.
Have any ideas to add? Don’t feel like I am preaching because I am far from perfect and need to implement many of these in my own life. I just wanted to share ways to be more eco-conscious during the holidays.