This year, we’re actively working to make sure our holiday festivities are as sustainable as possible. The holidays can bring a lot of waste. I mean, growing up, my dad always had a massive trash bag by his side on Christmas morning to collect all the boxes, packaging and gift wrap. But you can still be eco-friendly and enjoy your holiday season to the fullest. Read on for some sustainable tips to utilize this month:
Consider your tree
Christmas trees are undoubtedly one of the biggest joys of the holiday season, but they also take up a lot of space in the landfill. Believe it or not, buying a real Christmas tree is actually better for the environment than a reusable fake one. An artificial tree is way more energy intensive to produce than a real Christmas tree. And farmers plant Christmas trees with the intention of cutting them down and replacing them, so during that time, they’re taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. A decent-sized tree takes about 7 years to grow, so all that time it’s actually helping clean the air and slow climate change.
Skip the holiday cards
It’s so fun to send and receive holiday cards in the mail, but it’s also unfortunately wasteful. If you’re dead set on sending physical cards, opt for ones made of recycled paper and vegetable-based ink. Otherwise, try switching it up and sending an e-card this year. Or, you can be like my sister-in-law and send a full PowerPoint presentation chronicling the highlights of your year.
Choose your wrapping carefully
If you can, opting for reusable gift wrap is the way to go. I even found some cute ones in the Target dollar spot last week! But if you can’t go the reusable route, go for the more eco-friendly styles. A lot of holiday gift wrap includes materials that aren’t recyclable like foil or glitter, so try to find some that is sure to be able to be recycled and won’t end up in the landfill.
The holiday season = lots and lots of food. From Christmas dinner to holiday baking, we eat a lot during the holidays. Rather than heading to your nearest big-box grocer, shop at local farmers’ markets or family-owned stores this season. Try not to overbuy and contribute to food waste as well. It’s also a great idea to go as plant-based as possible this holiday season if you’re trying to be more eco-friendly. Whatever you don’t eat and can’t be saved, compost it!
All it takes is one trip to the mall to feel completely overwhelmed by all of stuff the holidays bring. Don’t buy gifts for the sake of gift giving. If they don’t need it, don’t buy it. Opt for experiences or gift cards that can be used to treat themselves to something they love later. If you are an avid gift giver, check out our eco-friendly holiday gift guide for ideas for sustainable gifting. My personal favorite is to gift plants from The Sill. Everyone loves plants!