It’s the time of year to celebrate life, to help bring peace on earth and goodwill to everyone. But just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean we should completely disregard the planet, even though we often do during this time.
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, Americans throw away 25% more trash. We can try to reduce that while reducing our own holiday stress! Check out these ways to help the earth feel peace during this time of year too.
1. Homemade decorations and gifts
One fun and green way to celebrate the season is making your own decorations. Particularly for kids, homemade decorations can become a lifelong memory. Feel free to use popsicle sticks and other odds and ends, but you go more sophisticated if you want. Winter foliage is gorgeous and can be cleaned and assembled easily for centerpieces and the mantel top.
|Source: Domestic Superhero|
2. Reusable wrapping
Did you know that wrapping paper is not recyclable?
One of the greatest sources of trash during this time is wrapping paper. According to the CDC, just 3 gifts wrapped in reused materials would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. We all can spare at least 3 gifts using more sustainable wrapping, don’t you think?
It’s actually pretty easy to reuse wrapping because you have so many options. Save the gift bags and tissue paper you receive and reuse them for the gifts you give. Use old newspapers or paper that you’d otherwise recycle for unique and interesting wrapping. I love using the comics section of the newspaper.
At craft or fabric stores, you can find holiday-themed
fabric. Cut the fabric for various sizes of gifts, and use safety pins to
secure the wrapping. No, fabric isn’t as fun to tear open as paper, but it gets
the job done with no waste.
You can find more ideas here as well.
A huge holiday stressor is shopping. Your blood pressure and the environment will thank you if you shop online or try to combine multiple stops in your shopping trips to save gas, time, and money.
Also consider buying from local businesses and shops or
high-quality secondhand and consignment stores to save some green in your
pocket and going green in your carbon footprint.
As unpopular as it might be with kids initially, you could also try giving fewer gifts and focusing on quality time together doing fun holiday activities. Time with loved ones is the whole point of the season anyway, right?
4. Experience gifts
About 35% of Americans have never used a Christmas present they have received. In addition, studies have found that spending money on experiences brings more happiness than spending money on physical possessions.
|Source: Getty Images|
5. Energy efficiency
However beautiful Christmas lights are, they are sometimes inefficient. To save on energy costs and usage, use LED lights and set them on a timer. Make sure you turn off lights when you're not around or awake to enjoy them. While you’re inside, you could consider burning candles for the same holiday feeling. Just make sure your house and choices are fire safe.
Or you could skip putting up your own lights, and go on walks around neighborhoods that participate in lighting contests. It’s a great holiday activity, and you can spare yourself the hassle and cost of your own lights.
|Source: Good Housekeeping|
Instead of buying new cards or ordering them online, you could send electronic holiday cards or make your own. Your kids can draw or make cards for family members. Use the front of old cards, your children’s artwork, or gift tags for unique, adorable holiday cards.
Even if everyone incorporated just one or two of these tips into your holiday this year, we could have a profound impact. Let's all feel a little more peace about the future this holiday season by including the earth in our goodwill.