From decorating your home to filling stockings for your loved ones, the holidays provide plenty of fun for the whole family.
And thankfully, as environmentally conscious consumers, we can make small changes to enjoy the holidays while remaining true to our eco-friendly values.
1. Skip the Wrapping Paper — And Get More Creative
With its shiny coatings, ribbons, and foil elements, much of the wrapping paper sold in stores isn’t recyclable — not to mention it’s often mass-produced in unethical sweatshops.
It can be overwhelming to think of how much water, trees, and fuel goes to waste each year just to create and deliver a product that’s meant to be discarded right away.
Instead of mass-produced wrapping paper, you can wrap your gifts with artwork created by the kids in your life or leftover newspaper and magazines. Or, wrap your gifts in scarves, new towels, or other items that are actually part of the gift.
And of course, you can always choose to skip the wrapping completely, without sacrificing the fun. If you’re giving gifts to guests or family members in your home, you can hide the unwrapped gifts around the house creating a scavenger hunt full of clues that lead your recipients to their gifts.
2. Get a Pesticide-Free Tree (And Don’t Forget to Recycle It!)
Real Christmas Trees are biodegradable, and you can easily reuse or recycle them for mulch and other purposes in your own yard.
Plus, while every community is of course different, it’s easier than ever to recycle your tree after the holidays, with opportunities including:
- Curbside recycling pickup. Many providers collect trees during regular pickup schedules during the two weeks following Christmas.
- Drop-off recycling centers. Or, find a local place to drop your tree off.
- Tree mulching programs. These programs will chip and shred your Christmas trees, then make the mulch available for use in your garden.
- Nonprofit pickup. Depending on your location, you can call for an appointment to have a nonprofit organization in your area pickup your tree. For instance, some Boy Scout troops offer a pickup service for a small donation (often $5).
3. Stick With Energy-Saving LED Holiday Lights
According to one U.S. Department of Energy study, the U.S. uses an estimated 6.63 billion kilowatt-hours (kW h) of electricity during the holiday season to power decorative lights. The Energy Department says that if every household would switch over to LED string lights, we could save 5.97 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is the equivalent of the annual electricity output of half a million homes.
If you’re decorating your home, be sure to use LED lights! They use 90 percent less energy than conventional holiday lights and can save your family up to $50 on your energy bills during the holiday season.
Available online and at many major retailers, LED lights also release little heat and last about 200,000 hours.
4. Serve a Holiday Feast Full of Organic & Local Foods
As you plan your holiday dinner, remember it’s a great time of year to support local family farmers who provide organic turkey, humane ham, and local vegetables.
You’ll be doing your part for the planet — plus, local, organic food just tastes better!
5. Offset Any Holiday Travel
Consider offsetting the fossil fuel pollution generated by your holiday travel. Organizations like Wren help you calculate how much CO₂ you emit, then fund carbon reduction and removal projects to neutralize your emissions.
6. Donate Time or Money to an Environmental Cause
From sorting donations at a food bank, to helping at an animal shelter, to delivering meals to seniors, there are countless ways to help your community and the planet this time of year. Organizations all over the country need your time and money to keep their mission in action.
7. Make Handicrafts & DIY Gifts
Reducing your consumption during the holidays can be fun and meaningful with do-it-yourself gifts like homemade ornaments, vanilla extract, and soaps, or picture frames featuring photos of loved ones.
So let your imagination bloom — and stop by Pinterest to jumpstart your creativity.
8. Share Experiential, Eco-Friendly & Locally Made Gifts
Who doesn’t love receiving tickets to a sporting event, play or concert? Or a zoo or museum membership? How about lessons or classes, or even a homemade dinner?
When you give your loved ones an experience, you’ll both get to spend quality time doing something fun, making new memories — and skipping the wrapping paper completely.
If you do choose to purchase gifts, be sure to select recyclable products that come in minimal packaging, or are made with sustainable materials.
9. Stuff Your Stockings With Natural Treats
Stocking stuffers are often small, plastic trinkets that break easily and quickly end up in the trash. Instead, fill your stockings with delicious healthy treats — like clementines, dried fruit, and nuts.
10. Stick to Non-Toxic Holiday Scents
Whether you burn candles, spritz air freshener, or use some other method — it’s easy to forget that many of the most popular holiday scents are, unfortunately, artificial and even toxic.
Thankfully, diffusing organic botanicals creates a cozy holiday scene — plus, they lift your spirits and are actually good for you, your family, and plants!
Our Holiday Home Diffuser Collection is reminiscent of clove and mandarin ornaments on a holiday conifer. It features these classic holiday scents for winter health, a clear mind, and an elevated mood:
- Cinnamon Essential Oil. An invigorating, balancing spice with plenty of sweetness.
- Sweet Orange Essential Oil. A mood-lifting cheer-you-up citrus superstar.
- Himalayan Juniper Essential Oil. A mind and lung clearing evergreen like a breath of crisp winter air.
As you’re shopping for your loved ones (or picking up a treat for yourself), be sure to use GratefulForYou25 at checkout and receive25% off through November 25, 2021!