Vegan Spritz Cookies

As we are working on the Cookie Connoisseur Badge, I thought it would be fun to take a dive into one of our family’s favorite cookies: the Spritz Cookie. These almond flavored cookies are synonymous with Christmas to me! Turns out, they are a Christmas favorite for many others as well. Read on to learn more about Spritz Cookies and watch the video below to hear about our family tradition, see how to make Spritz Cookies yourself, and learn how we’ve managed to veganize this holiday classic.

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Holiday Curiosities

On Fridays, we share a roundup of what we’ve been learning, watching, reading, and listening to outside of our badge topic for the week. We call this feature “Friday Curiosities” and this black cat is our curiosity mascot of sorts! Since we are in the midst of our holiday season, we thought it would be fun to post a holiday-themed curiosities roundup about holiday traditions and other questions we have about the holidays.

This edition of Friday Curiosities covers the holiday tradition of wassailing, a creepy holiday character, baby Yoda and Life Day, and holiday traditions around the globe.

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Earn your Eco Holiday Hero Badge in a Weekend!

To earn the Eco Holiday Hero Badge, you will learn how to make your holidays less stressful, less expensive, more joyful and eco-friendly. Take a quiz to find out just how much you know or don’t know about holiday waste and how to reduce it, learn to wrap gifts using fabric instead of wrapping paper, shop local, and make a few homemade gifts. We’ve outlined how to complete the badge in a weekend below.

But first, here is a quick rundown of how earning a badge works. We use “Badge Guides” to lay out what it takes to earn the badge.

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Homemade Gift: DIY Advent Candles and Pom Pom Essential Oil Diffusers

Eco Holiday Badge, Step 3

To complete Step 3 of the Eco Holiday Badge, we took action by getting together and making some homemade gifts! Homemade gifts are often better for the planet because they can incorporate reused or recycled materials and often require less shipping. They are also special to give and receive because the giver has clearly put time and love into making the gift. We rounded up a bunch of homemade gift ideas here.

We picked two crowd-pleasing gifts that would be easy to create at home. We reused and recycled any items we could, and bought the rest of our supplies ahead of time.

First, we DIYed a favorite store bought gift from last year: an advent candle. This long lasting gift can be used throughout the holiday season. We also tried our hand at a brand new gift project that is sure to be a holiday hit for many on our list: pom pom essential oil diffusers!

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Reducing Gifts, Stress, and Waste for Well-Being and an Eco-Friendly Holiday with Laura from Reduce Reuse Renew

Eco Holiday Hero Badge, Step 2

To complete Step 2 of the Eco Holiday Hero Badge we interviewed Laura Durenberger, the blogger behind Reduce, Reuse, Renew. Laura gave some great ideas for focusing your shopping lists on what your loved ones really need. We love her four gift rule. We learned how to keep our mental health strong during the holidays, all while doing good for the planet and our families.

Laura’s blog, Reduce, Reuse, Renew, is a site that serves as a guide to reduction-based living through mindfulness, minimalism, anxiety management, and zero waste living in order to make room for the things that matter.

Step 2 of any badge is to learn from others. Talking to an expert or taking an organized class is a great way to do this step if you can find one! For the Eco-Holiday Hero badge we suggest taking a class from your local recycling center or other green organization, learning how to DIY some gifts this year, or practicing Furoshiki wrapping. Read on to see what we learned from Laura, an expert on zero-waste living and eco-friendly holidays!

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Furoshiki Fabric Gift Wrapping

Furoshiki fabric gift wrapping is an excellent way to reduce the amount of waste produced during the holiday season (and all year long)! We fell in love with this method of wrapping gifts in fabric a few years ago. Using fabric instead of wrapping paper allows you to reuse the wrapping year after year, and in our opinion, looks even more beautiful than paper wrapping under the tree. Once you learn a few wrapping techniques, you’ll find this method both easy and relaxing. Picking out the fabric you’ll use is a lot of fun too!

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DIY Gifts Ideas for an Eco-Friendly Holiday

Part of our plan for having a more eco-friendly holiday this year is to make more of the gifts we give. We’ve been making handmade gifts for years because we love to craft and find the act of making something for someone we love meaningful, but this year we have an additional motivation: to buy and ship less while giving from the heart! Below we’ve gathered ideas for gifts you can make yourself whether you are a novice DIY-er or a seasoned crafting vet. Making a few (or all) of your gifts this year is good for your creativity and for the planet!

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Ultimate List of Experience Gifts

Below you will find a list of over 60 experiences you can give as gifts instead of something that will eventually end up a landfill (toys, clothes, etc.). If you choose experience gifts you can join in on, then they are really gifts for you too! If they help you invest in quality time with a person you care about, then these gifts can be good for your relationship and the planet.

Scroll down to see person-specific experience gift lists for: teenagers, women, men, grandparents, college students, and kids.

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Sustainable Holiday Quiz: Just How Much Waste Is Produced During the Holidays?

Each year, Americans and others across the globe produce an unbelievable amount of waste during the holiday season. Not to mention how stressful buying, wrapping, and even giving gifts can be!

Take this quiz to learn just how much waste is produced during the holidays and how you can have a more sustainable holiday this year. Play along with us by watching the video below and quizzing yourself! Be sure to leave a comment below and let us know how you did.

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Eco Holiday Challenge Guidelines

eco holiday hero badge

We challenge YOU to take the #EcoHolidayChallenge to make this year’s holiday sustainable and Earth-friendly. The challenge is simple. Commit to doing a few of the guidelines below. After reading through the guidelines, watch the video for tips and ideas for following each one.

1. Wrap gifts in reusable or recycled wrapping.

We suggest checking out Furoshiki wrapping.

2. Send electronic holiday cards.

We make ours by uploading a family photo to Canva, adding text and graphics, and downloading. Then we send our holiday cheer via email and post on social media.

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