It can be far too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping, celebrating and indulging during the holiday season. From celebrations and parties to seasonal specials, there are countless ways to go a little overboard, both with our spending and our wasting. At the same time, it’s as easy to go green and take steps to waste less, reuse more be environmentally conscious overall.
Waste Not, Want Not
When we talk about holiday waste, we’re not just talking about the extraordinary amounts of gift wrap, gift bags, gift boxes and gift tags that get tossed every year. We’re also talking about the amount of food and drink that gets left over or never used. Add that to the increased amount of carbon emissions that inevitably occur because of holiday travel and shopping and you can see how things add up.
Don’t get us wrong; we’re not saying to cancel your holiday plans and stay home all winter. We’re simply saying that it won’t hurt (it might in fact make you feel good!) to think a little bit harder about how you can be more environmentally friendly this Christmas. To help you out, here are some of our favorite suggestions.
How to Have a Greener Christmas
Give Experiences, Not Gifts
In lieu of the latest action figure, piece of tech, pair of earrings or ugly sweater, consider giving the gift of a cultural experience. Consider concert tickets (digital, of course), a museum pass or a lesson at a local art studio. You cut down on physical waste while making memories that will last.
Some people just love giving gifts, but maybe instead of buying a box of chocolates and cookies, you make them yourself? Instead of that bargain jar of body scrub, head to Pinterest and make a custom blend for some of your favorite people. Not only will the person who receives the gift appreciate the extra time and effort you took , you also have the opportunity to hone a new skill.
Shop Local, Stay Local
Choosing to shop locally during the holidays helps keep money in your community and supports the local economy. It can also cut down on greenhouse gas emissions that inevitably occur when things are shipped over long distances. Plus, visiting your local boutiques encourages you to engage with your community members and might introduce you to new opportunities and experiences while you’re at it!
Eat and Host Responsibly
When it comes to entertaining guests or hosting holiday celebrations, it can be easy to panic and cook too much food in fear of not having enough. This can lead to excessive leftovers that go untouched in your fridge, or you to eat to the point of discomfort. Instead of cooking everything yourself, consider hosting a potluck-style dinner instead. Ask guests to each bring a dish of their own to share with everything (bonus points if it’s made with kefir!). That way there will be enough food for everyone, and the leftovers are shared among a crowd. And if you’re looking for some belly-friendly recipes to share, head over to our recipe archive for inspiration!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This goes for gifts, food and party attire alike. Using recyclable wrapping paper, while reusing bags and boxes from previous years, will help you save money and minimize the amount of trash that ends up at a landfill.