“Going green” can be daunting, especially during the holidays. We’ve compiled a list of ten easy ways to make your holidays a bit more eco-friendly this year. We like to think of these tips as a fun challenge that gives some structure to the way you go about your holidays. Even if you just do one of these this year, you will have done something good for the planet! Maybe next year you can do two.
1. Send holiday e-cards.
Save yourself the stress of getting cards printed, writing on envelopes, and buying stamps? We’ve been sending “e-holiday cards” for years now. If grandma really wants to put one on her fridge she can print it out. Email your cards to your contacts but also consider posting you ecard on Facebook and Instagram to spread holiday cheer to even more people.
2. Wrap your gifts in reusable or recycled wrapping.
We use squares and rectangles of fabric or fabric gift bags. Does wrapping gifts in fabric sound difficult? It’s not. The Japanese have been wrapping gifts this way for over a thousand years. This style of wrapping is called Furoshiki. Follow this easy tutorial for wrapping in fabric and this one for making reusable fabric bags for gifts. After the presents are opened, we collect the fabric squares and bags and store them with our holiday decorations until next year. Sometimes people like to keep them (probably because they are so cute). We’re fine with that too!
My other go-to is to wrap in newspaper or brown packing paper that would have otherwise been recycled in my house.
3. Give experiences instead of gifts.
The perfect gift for the person who has everything: an experience! And a perfect gift for just about anyone else. Experiences are really a gift that gives twice since there is joy in finding out about it, and joy in the actual doing of the experience. Bonus points if you plan an experience gift you can do together. You get to invest quality time in the relationship AND give someone an experience they’ll enjoy. Check back here soon for our nearly-exhaustive list of experiences you can give for all types of people.
4. Give gifts that help the environment.
Gifts like reusable straws, solar patio lights, reusable grocery bags and produce bags, glass food containers, stainless steel cups, or cloth napkins help the receiver keep up the “green” traditional all year long!
5. Give gifts that get “used.”
By used we mean gifts that don’t end up in a landfill because they are actually used by the receiver. For example, food, nice shampoo you know the person will use, lotion, candles, or fancy soaps.
6. Make the gifts you give.
Get creative. Use Pinterest for inspiration. You could sew, paint, knit, or build something. Is crafting not really your thing? Put together a recipe in a jar or bake something delicious. We’ve made dozens of different gifts over the years. Follow us for DIY gift ideas on our blog, Instagram, and Facebook.
7. If you do buy gifts, buy them in a store instead of shipping them.
Yes, this may take more time and energy but physically going to shops and picking out gifts can be fun. Realize that you may have to fight the urge to online shop. Shop smart and early. Try to visit shops during less busy times.
8. Buy gifts from local artisans and business owners.
Support local artisans if you can. Find a holiday market (these often happen in downtowns, at local schools, and at bigger craft shows in November and December), invite some friends along and make a day of it. Be sure to share with your friends how you are going *green* this holiday season and invite them to join you!
9. Make your holiday parties greener
Use real dishes instead of paper products for holiday meals and cloth napkins instead of paper ones. You’ll feel fancier too! You only have to invest in cloth napkins, extra plates, and cups once. We opt for white and plain plates and cups so that they work with a variety of holiday and party themes. Fabric napkins are fun to collect in a variety of colors and patterns. You can even make your own!
10. Make, thrift, or reuse holiday decorations
Many of the best holiday decorations are the ones we reuse. Think about your stockings, holiday dishes, and ornaments, all are typically reused every year! Each ornament on our tree holds a special memory for our family. Our favorite holiday decorations are vintage hand-me-downs. Consider using what you have before buying new. Raid mom’s basement. You could also hold a holiday decoration swap with friends!
Want to commit to a greener holiday this year? Check out our Eco Holiday Challenge page. There you can register to receive ideas and inspiration for a greener holiday season.
Have other ideas for making the holidays greener? What have you successfully done to be more eco-friendly in the past? What is the easiest change you’ve made? We’d love to hear from you! Reach out to us on Instagram or Facebook or drop us a line here.