Every December, Christmas is on the horizon.
And with that comes the most wonderful time of the year! It's a time to shop for gifts, to eat delicious food, and to decorate your house with lights and trees.
But what is often overlooked is how much waste we generate during this time. The amount of wrapping paper and boxes that are thrown away can fill up entire landfills!
Why not make a difference this year and have a positive impact?
After all, the holidays are a chance to look back on the past year and see what you did right—and what you did wrong.
For example, maybe you want to make sure that you were more environmentally conscious this year than ever before.
Maybe you want to make sure that your holiday decorations were made with sustainable materials.
Maybe you want to make sure that your gifts for loved ones are sustainable ones!
Whatever it is that inspires you, there are plenty of ways for you to make sure that your holiday season isn't just merry but also mindful of the environment around us.
Here are just a few ideas for how you can do just that:
If you can find local shops that sell what you're looking for, go for it! It helps create jobs in your community, and it gives you a chance to support businesses that have been cultivating authenticity and quality in their products for years—or even decades.
Make presents instead of buying them
It doesn't have to be complicated—you can make something simple like a handmade card or cookie mix in a jar. What about homemade candles? There are tons of great DIY ideas out there (check Pinterest for inspiration).
Gift an experience
There's no better way to show someone you care than by giving them a meaningful experience that they'll never forget. Whether it's dinner at their favorite restaurant or tickets to their favorite show—experiences are a great way to make sure your loved ones feel special and appreciated for who they are.
If you want to give even more, some organizations like WWF let people offer memberships for their friends and family.
Buy used instead of new whenever possible
You'll reduce your carbon print and save money. You can find plenty of possibilities online or at thrifts—there are tons of great items out there that someone else has just been holding on to, and would be happy to see someone else getting use out of them!
Give up single-use plastic
Try reusable gift bags! You can find beautiful cloth wrapping paper at your local art store or online, or use an empty cardboard box from something you've purchased recently as a homemade gift box.
Rent a tree or buy a reusable one
Yes, you can rent a tree! A potted tree from your local businesses and give them back after the holidays. This way, you get the experience of having a real tree without having to worry about what to do with it once Christmas is over.
You can also opt for artificial trees—even if it’s plastic, just make sure to use it for at least 10+ years.
Recycle and reuse
If you happen to use cards or papers to wrap your gifts, avoid metallic and glittery ones. This way, if you want to recycle them later, they'll be easy to reuse.
As for your tree, if potted, you can replant it! Otherwise, look into your city council website if they accept trees for wood chips.
And don't forget to reuse decorations from year to year! Opt for longer-lasting decorations so that you don't have to buy new ones every Christmas.
But most importantly: let yourself enjoy the holiday season without guilt or shame. You can contribute at your level without putting pressure on yourself. Remember: small changes can make a big difference!
Now go forth and spread the good word of sustainable Christmas cheer!