Well here we are in December already, and I must say 2020 has certainly a been a year like no other. For example many of us may decide against traveling over the holidays, opting instead to stay home with our immediate families and create new memories and traditions. If you’ll be staying safe and snug at home this year, why not take the opportunity to make this holiday season a little more sustainable? Here are some fun ideas:
1. Say no to paper, foam and plasticware. Treat your family like the special folks they are and serve your holiday meals using your best dishes, silverware, glassware and cloth napkins. It’s estimated that as much as 25% more waste is produced between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, so now is a good time to forego paper/plastic/foam plates, napkins, utensils and cups.
2. Decorate with objects you have at hand. You could try painting pinecones you find outside. Or get creative using decorations you already have in fun new ways. Your kids could even try making their own fun homemade ornaments.
3. Replace traditional holiday lighting with LED versions. They’re 90% more energy-efficient and will help reduce your electricity bill, especially if they’re on a timer. Plus LED lights usually last longer!
4. Shop local. It’s fun to support people in our own towns and cities. You can often find unique and unexpected gift ideas in local shops—and small business owners definitely appreciate our patronage right now. Plus because locally sold goods typically don’t have to travel as far (and neither do you), you’re helping to reduce carbon footprint. Or if you’re into creating homemade gifts, check out these ideas.
5. Reuse gift bags and tissue paper. You’ll save money by not having to buy new! Consider including a reusable bag or basket as part of the package and give the gift of sustainability. You may find ribbon or twine tucked away somewhere that could easily be repurposed into pretty embellishments for your gifts. If you do purchase wrapping paper, make sure it’s recyclable. Another fun idea? Forego wrapping paper altogether and instead set up a scavenger hunt for your treasure-finders.
6. Add organic or local foods to your holiday feast. Not only does it usually taste better, but you’ll be supporting local farmers as well as the planet since fruits and vegetables grown organically don’t use pesticides containing harmful chemicals.
7. Recycle old electronics. If someone in your family is getting a new tablet or cell phone, why not keep the old one out of the landfill and donate it to Staples, or possibly even sell it through an online buyback program?
I’ve made cloth gift bags with a draw string to use year after year. Festival material, plaids, or bright solids can be used for birthday presents too.
Wow, thanks for sharing, Kim. What a pretty (and sustainable) way to make opening gifts even more fun!
Wrapping gifts in news print is great too. The kids love to paint on the paper, to add a personal touch.
Overrun with gift bags? I use them as wrapping paper. Take off the handles, cut down a side, cut off the bottom & open it flat. Good to go!
I’m going to give that a try!
I love these ideas and started using them this year. I used my left over gift bags for wrapping paper and then made pine cones ornaments and attached them above the name tag I used by cutting Christmas cards
I use the comics in the newspaper for gift wrapping and I recycle gift bags and bows
I crocheted baskets as gifts this year! Thanks for the idea of using them to put the rest of their gift in instead of a bag!