Holiday season means family, food, shimmering lights and beautifully wrapped gifts. There's a lot of socializing and merriment all around. We get carried away buying presents for loved ones, panic about people we might have forgotten to give presents to, try to figure out how to have the perfect party at our house. In all this, it is important to try to do things more sustainably. With a little planning, it also makes for a much simpler holiday season.
These simple tips are a great way to start your sustainable holidays:
Holidays 'R' Us:
Start by practicing the many Rs when you are buying gifts, or food, or decorating your house:
Refuse (to buy something you don't need or absolutely want)
Reuse (what you already have)
Reduce (your spending, your decorations and so on)
Recycle (buy things that can be easily recycled)
Regift (something that you think someone else will love more than you)
Rethink (how you spend, what you spend on)
Repurpose (your decorations, your leftover food)
Shop local when possible.
Do a white elephant exchange instead of getting gifts for everyone.
Make wrapping a part of your gift- baskets, scarves, newspapers and magazines, make homemade wrapping paper out of grocery bags with your kids' art on it, or resort to paper gift bags which are easier to reuse.
Buy more experiential gift(card)s (museums, attractions, events, bookstores, plays, movies etc.)
Buy toys without batteries.
Recycle old electronics when you get new ones as gifts.
Buy or make sustainable gifts. (B Corp certified products, or homemade jam in a glass jar made with organic fruit is also a delicious, sustainable alternative for your co-workers and friends :-)
Buy local when possible.
Try to use reusable dishes and cutlery.
If using paper cups, put a marker next to them so people can put their names on them.
Set up recycling and yard waste bins close to the trash cans.
Don't make excessive food, send leftovers home with friends or take it to work.
Switch to LED lighting.
Shut the lights off at night or use a timer.
Buy non-glittery party décor that can be reused or recycled easily.
Make homemade invitations or send out evites.
Buy an indoor Christmas tree that you can reuse year after year.
If you buy a big tree, make sure you recycle it with a company which makes it into chips to be reused.
Donate items you don't need.
Make a meaningful contribution to your favorite charity- monetary donations or volunteering your time and skills are both great options.
This is also a great time to discuss an ongoing yearly plan with your family. Charities need help year-round and they often get more help than they need during the holidays.
The year is almost ending, and it's time to contemplate and think about new year resolutions. But before that, wishing you all a joyous, peaceful holiday season.