Around here, we love the holidays. We love being in the spirit of giving, and especially the opportunity this time of year brings to be with those we appreciate most. What we aren’t so huge on though, is the mountain of waste and garbage the holiday season can often trigger (wow, that escalated quickly). For real though, have you ever taken a minute to think of just how much trash there is to pick up at the end of Christmas morning? I mean, you’ve probably hated trying to pick up those last stubborn bits of glitter from you floor that seem to stick around until February. We’ve lined up 7 ways to be more eco-friendly this holiday that we know you’ll love, and we’re sure that you’ll incorporate them into your magical holiday traditions for years to come.
What we’re about to say here is *in our opinion* a little revolutionary. What if we ditched the glitter, and forgot about using copious amount of gift-wrap (no matter how cute that Peanuts print is). Not quite on board yet? Don’t worry. We have a variety of ideas that go beyond wrapping paper for you to make your positive mark on the planet this year.
Change How You Wrap this Holiday Season
Since we dwelled on it so much in our opening thoughts, let’s start off this list of 7 ways to be more eco-friendly this holiday with what we’ve got in mind to change the way we wrap gifts.
Reusing gift wrap from previous presents you were given is the easiest way you can waste less this year. Of course this idea requires you not to tear through opening your gifts to preserve the paper. But it’s completely worth it, we promise!
On top of producing less waste, you’ll also be saving money on purchasing wrapping paper, so you really can’t go wrong here. But if you’re like some of us, you may not be able to resist tearing through your presents. Or maybe you simply don’t have the best track record for *properly* opening your gifts. Don’t sweat it. We haven’t forgotten you babe! And we have an alternative for you too.
Opt for Reusable Bags as Wrapping Paper for Gifts
So many stores use brown bags instead of plastic these days, and we love this. Even if you’re not the crafty type, cutting open a brown paper grocery bag to use as wrapping paper is kindergarten level easy. And when you’re all done wrapping, you can keep your creative juices flowing.
Have some fun decorating your gift box by either drawing on it or sticking some cute, quirky things you can find around the house on it. Put those old magazines to use, or an old trinket or small kids toy they no longer use to make your gift unique.
Our last idea in this area is to wrap your gift with a reusable bag. We know this might not be possible for all of your presents. But if you can, use a bag that the person can easily bring on their next shopping trip. You're not only helping to save the environment here. You’re also adding to the gift itself for that picky friend of yours!
Believe us when we tell you that the person on the receiving end of your creation will likely appreciate the time in effort you spent enveloping it, more than what’s inside!
Turn Your House into an Eco-Friendly Haven this Holiday Season
What do we mean by this? Well friends, making your house into the most magical winter wonderland does not have to be taxing on the environment. A big part of our 7 ways to be more eco-friendly this holiday, definitely involves your home.
One idea we really love is to make holiday decorations out of household items. This could be as simple as using a few puzzle pieces to make hanging snowflakes. Or, using an ornate blanket of yours as a tree skirt. When you take the time to look into upcycling ideas for décor items, the amount of things you can create is endless!
Creating your own holiday decorations is also a great opportunity to get your kids involved and create some sweet family memories. Get them set up on a cozy afternoon for some laidback constructing, and keep their creations for years to come.
Consider your lighting in your eco-friendly efforts
Now again, we’ve kept the *less* crafty babes in mind here. If glue guns and paintbrushes aren’t your thing, we hear you. There’s definitely other ways you can keep the environment in mind this year.
Using LED lights around your home to create a fun holiday vibe is affordable, and way easy to accomplish. In case you haven’t heard, the benefits of using this type of lighting are pretty sweet. What’s highly impressive about them besides the minimal impact they have on the environment, is the vast range of colors they come in. Which means you can have some red and green ambiance going in the living room – no questions asked!
Aside from using LED lights to transform your place this holiday season, we highly recommend considering using any type of lights that have an “auto shut-off” feature. These have become popular in recent years, and with good reason. They have a seriously positive impact on minimizing the use of electricity (and the height of your energy bill).
Give Eco-Friendly Gifts
Were not talking gifting all of your girlfriends handmade macramé bags here. Gifting in an eco-friendly way can be easier *and cuter* than you think. Not that macramé isn’t cute but, it’s just not something our Aunt Agnes is really into.
Something as simple as gifting an e-gift card rather than a traditional plastic or paper gift card is already a step in the right direction. Plus, who has time to remember where they actually placed all those darn cards? We are all about the e-gift cards around here. Just save them to your phone for easy access, and bam – less waste! And, less time spent fumbling through your wallet.
Now, if you’re looking to gift something a little more personal – we feel you there too. You can upcycle the gifts you give this holiday season, and were here to give you some ideas how.
Upcycle, then upcycle some more
If you’re thrifty, hit up your local thrift shops for some cool vintage finds. You likely have a friend or family member who would definitely appreciate something unique and hard to find. So here’s your time to shine! You don’t have to go the clothing route. Unique or ornate home pieces are often found in these second hand shops as well. Go hunting for treasures. You’ll be glad you did.
On the other hand, if you’re not comfortable leaving your home right now, that's understandable. And we certainly considered that in curating this list of 7 ways to be more eco-friendly this holiday. There are tons of other websites that specialize in upcycled gifts. We personally love Etsy, where you can find handcrafted gems your loved ones won’t find anywhere else.
Shop local whenever you can
We thought this one deserved it’s very own section. More than ever, we need to do our small part in supporting our communities. Local businesses are a huge part of this. Think of your favorite coffee shop. Or that boutique that always works overtime to make sure you have access to the most beautiful pieces right in your hometown. Support them this holiday season by gifting items you can find at their shops. You won't only find presents that totally beat the box stores. You’ll be helping even more people close to you come out of 2020 a little better.
Be More Eco-Friendly with Food
You might be thinking, how can my food consumption be more eco-friendly? We’re here to tell you it can be.
Think about the abundance of food that is typically made at every holiday gathering. Now, we urge you to forget throwing away any leftovers. A lot of us aren’t aware of this, but throwing food away is a massive carbon waste. If you want to know more about this, click here.
So why not keep what’s left over, and incorporate it into brunch or lunch the next day? Leftover turkey sure does make an excellent sandwich, even cold (we’re just saying).
Another way you can be more conscious of the environment by way of food is to, well, gift it! If you do okay in the baking department, why not gift some delicious baked goods to your beloved coworkers? Anyone in your life with a sweet tooth will appreciate the time and effort you spent making them your signature treats.
Donate in Someone's Name Toward an Eco-Friendly Charity
As great as this list of 7 ideas to be more eco-friendly this holiday season has been so far, we know there's still someone particular on your mind. Everyone has that one person on their list who is, year after year, so tough to buy for. You know, the one who has everything or alternatively, who returns everything. To this person, we kindly suggest you give them a gift they can’t not feel good about.
Donate any amount you’d like in someone’s name to an Eco Charity. There are countless charities who prioritize the environment. You can pick one that resonates the most with you and the person you’re donating in’s name!
Be more Eco-Friendly this Holiday Season with… Plants
Ok ok, hear us out. How annoying is it to throw out your Christmas tree each year and clean up after it when you’re done. We know the smell of a real pine tree is unmatched, but hey, we have essential oils for that.
Why not pick a plant you already have in your home and decorate it! C’mon, how cool would your snake plant look all dressed up and ready for Christmas morning. If you don’t have a plant in your home that would fit this idea, we get that. Consider purchasing a potted tree to decorate that you can then simply plant when you’re done with it. Easy, right?
Our Parting (eco) Friendly Words…
As our lives change and evolve, events like the holidays inevitably must as well. We know changing traditions isn’t always easy, or even possible in some cases. I mean, who really wants to argue with mom over her love of a natural tree. But where possible, if you can create your own traditions we definitely encourage you to. Start small with one of the 7 ideas above to be more eco-friendly this holiday. Or really go in and incorporate the whole list! Either way, we’re proud of you! Every little effort we make combined, makes a huge difference to our planet. And for that, everyone will eventually thank you – even if they don’t realize it yet.