That wonderful holiday spirit is certainly in the air! Lights align the streets along with wreaths, candles, and festive décor; stores are filled with fabulous gifts just perfect for that special someone; plans for parties, dinners, and time spent with loved ones are coming to fruition. It’s a joyous, merry time – no wonder it’s deemed “the most wonderful time of the year.”
We all feel this come December and the month never fails to lighten our spirits. There’s no better feeling than celebrating the year’s end with loved ones, laughing the night away with eggnog and gingerbread, or giving someone a gift they adore. These festivities are what makes this time of year so great.
While green may show up as a primary hue throughout this month, December isn’t necessarily the greenest – in the environmental sense of the word. All of these festivities can lead to extra waste in the form of food, paper, and excess gifts. While we’re all for enjoying the holiday season to the fullest, it’s also important to be mindful of the impact you’re having on the earth. But how can you ensure that your holiday is eco-conscious?
Shopping for and giving thoughtful gifts for the ones you love is a wonderful part of the holiday season. The key to staying green with your gifting is to buy with intention, not just for the sake of gifting. On top of this, buy gifts from stores that use recycled or eco-conscious materials, or those who give to and support green initiatives. Gift experiences rather than goods for those who will enjoy them; a concert or a trip is a wonderful present. Offer a donation in someone’s name to an environmental organization. Get crafty and make your own gifts with upcycled materials, or use your baking skills to cook up some delicious gifts your loved ones will adore. At the end of the day, buying with thought and intention ensures you won’t overbuy (leading to waste) and makes your holiday that much greener.
Gifts look beautiful in wrapping paper, but that paper simply gets discarded a minute after someone opens a present. Go green this year by getting creative with your wrapping. Save and reuse old bags others have given to you. Grab paper grocery bags from your kitchen and wrap up your gifts with a beautiful ribbon for flair. Wrap your gift in a gift: a scarf, shawl, or blanket makes for great wrapping – and ends up as two gifts in one! If possible, store gifts in glass jars or other containers that your loved ones can reuse for a new purpose. Your gift recipients will be amazed at your creativity.
There’s nothing like holiday decorations and lights to really get you in the mood for the season. However, all the bows, paper, and other materials that go into decorations can have a negative impact on the environment. An easy way to negate the impacts of your décor is to save last year’s decorations and use it year after year. No need to stick to this year’s trends – your old decorations will turn into traditions that your family simply needs to see around the holidays! If you do need to buy new decorations this year, choose quality pieces that can last for years to come, and search for those made with recycled or organic material when possible.
How do you stay green during this time of holiday cheer? We’d love to hear your best tips!