I know it’s tough to be sustainable during the holiday season, but today I’ll be sharing my tips on how to be more eco-friendly during this time of year.
The holiday season can get pretty busy with so much going on, but it’s not difficult to sacrifice convenience for more eco-friendly ways.
There are a lot of ways we can try to be more sustainable, and a lot of them are pretty easily to implement into your busy holidays.
Here are my tips on how to be more sustainable and eco-friendly during the holiday season!
1. Wrap gifts using kraft wrapping paper or newspaper
If you have a big family like I do, you’ve probably had to dedicate whole garbage bags to just wrapping paper.
A lot of gift wrapping paper is actually not recyclable, and has to go straight into the landfill.
Get with the whole rustic holiday theme using kraft paper, or be a little more creative with some newspaper.
Use twine instead of tape to hold it all together because twine can be composted!
2. Reuse gift bags and tissue for your own gifts
One of the easiest ways to be sustainable during the holidays is to reuse any gift bags and tissue paper you receive for your own gifts.
Why toss gift bags you’ve received into the landfill and buy more gift bags just to have them end up in the landfill as well?
I save everything down to the ribbon (if it’s not extremely short) and the crinkle paper.
Not because I’m cheap (okay, maybe I am), but because it’s totally usable for other gifts.
3. Buy plantable seed paper products
Yep, you can buy biodegradable cards and crinkle paper that turn into wildflowers!
While you can recycle cards and compost crinkle paper (except if they’re mixed with non-paper materials), you never really know if things are really being recycled or composted properly.
4. Treat your loved ones to experiences instead of material things
It’s a nice gift that they can enjoy with little waste (if we’re being technical and counting gas emissions and all that).
If they’re not into those sorts of experiences, consider donating to a charitable cause on their behalf.
My family no longer gives gifts for any occasion, and we instead dedicate holidays to spending time with each other.
5. Shop in-store rather than online
I used to love online shopping, but now that I’ve grown out of my shopaholic habits, I realize I actually enjoy shopping in-store more.
There’s just something about being able to touch and feel things, and having real in-person interactions (when the employees aren’t being grinches).
Shopping in-store means the product goes straight into your hands, rather than being delivered on its own via a boat, plane, or truck across the country.
Plus, if you end up returning that item, it goes through the same process again!
Take in the sights and sounds of the holiday season with all the festive decorations.
It only comes around once a year, and if you go early enough, you’ll be able to avoid the last minute crowds!
Don’t forget to also take reusable tote bags to go shopping – you don’t need to collect retail shopping bags 🙂
6. Re-wear outfits to your holiday parties
Who the heck cares if you’ve already worn that red velvet dress to another holiday party?
Gone are the days of having to wear a new dress to every event.
And if anyone says otherwise, I hope they’re at least shopping for their dresses at the thrift store.
There’s nothing wrong with being an outfit repeater, even if you’re going to be photographed.
And if anything, just change it up with your accessories or outerwear!
7. Stop using disposable cutlery at holiday gatherings
It’s much easier to toss all the cutlery and plates into the garbage, but it’s much more environmentally friendly to use your own utensils and kitchenware.
Dishwashers are a thing, my friends!
And if you absolutely must use disposable cutlery and plates, at least try to find biodegradable options.
I’ve listed ones from Amazon, which I know isn’t the most sustainable company, but I try to do big orders less often to reduce the amount of waste.
8. Cook meals instead of getting takeout or delivery
Takeout and delivery contribute a lot of waste, so if you can cook, do that instead.
Or if you can only make one dish well, consider doing a holiday potluck!
Try baking your own holiday treats and making your own eggnog as well.
Put a little bit of love into your meals!
9. Use the same holiday decorations as last year
Christmas trees are composted by the city, so it’s fine to get real Christmas trees.
My condo building doesn’t allow them, so I just use the same artificial tree and decorations I’ve been using for the last several years.
As tempting as it may be to buy cute decorations when you walk through The Bay or HomeSense, you’re better off just using the same decorations you already own.
10. Donate gifts you don’t want to charities
If you receive any gifts you don’t want, donate them to charity or even to Value Village if charities won’t take them.
It might seem like a hassle to have to bring them anywhere, but someone else will be very grateful for it.
Jessie’s Centre in Riverside takes new or gently used women’s and children’s clothing, toys, and household items (like pots and pans).
Dress for Success in North York provides women with professional workwear and clothing.
New Circles in North York takes clothing for everyone, and I love how they create a retail shopping experience for visitors.
I read a comment online somewhere recently, and the guy said to donate things to thrift stores even if you think no one will want it, because if they can sell it, they will.
And it’s better that they sell it (or potentially throw it out if they can’t) than you tossing it straight into the garbage.
Eco-friendly holiday tips:
- Wrap gifts using kraft wrapping paper or newspaper
- Reuse gift bags and tissue for your own gifts
- Buy plantable seed paper products
- Treat your loved ones to experiences instead of material things
- Shop in-store rather than online
- Re-wear outfits to your holiday parties
- Stop using disposable cutlery at holiday gatherings
- Cook meals instead of getting takeout or delivery
- Use the same holiday decorations as last year
- Donate gifts you don’t want to charities
There’s no way to be 100% sustainable and eco-friendly during the holidays, but you can at least try your best to do what you can.
As I always say, it’s not about being perfect, but putting forth the effort to make a difference.
What are some of your tips on being more eco-friendly and sustainable during the holiday season? I’d love to know in the comments!