The holiday season is in full swing, and everyone’s bustling around trying to get those last minute gifts! This season is meant to be cheerful, but it can also be stressful–and not only on you. Our planet feels the holiday frenzy too!
Did you know that in America alone, we throw away 25% more trash from Thanksgiving to New Years than any other time during the year? That adds up to an additional 1 million tons of garbage each week over the holidays. Now that, my friend, is a LOT of extra garbage; but it doesn’t have to be this way! With these simple tips and ideas, you can cut down on your own holiday footprint and start gifting sustainably!
Quality Over Quantity
It can be fun to shower those you love with many small gifts during the holidays. What isn’t fun, however, is the clutter left behind afterwards! This year, instead of buying someone a bunch of little gifts they don’t need, buy them fewer, higher quality gifts that will withstand the test of time. In the interest of bettering the environment, stay away from gifting single-use items and buy items that are meaningful, durable, and chosen with purpose.
Gift an Experience
Don’t get me wrong, giving physical presents is a great thing. Gifting a thoughtful experience, however, can be even better. Giving the gift to do something rather than to have something has the ability to make memories that material items simply cannot do. These can include (but are certainly not limited to) checking out a new movie, relaxing at the spa, rooting at a sporting event, or spending a fancy night out on the town!
The Gift of Giving
For the friend who loves animals or for the sibling who adores astronomy, give a present that shows you how well you know them and how much you care. With a little research, it’s easy to find a charity or fund that fits your needs. Know an animal lover? Give them the opportunity to “adopt” their favorite animal. There are many programs that allow you to sponsor an animal of your choice, and provide perks like a certificate, a stuffed animal, and even updates about who you “adopted”. Or, you could go above and beyond and name a star after your loved one! Most websites provide a certificate, as well as updates about interesting findings around your star. Plus, many programs donate the proceeds towards scientific research! You can never go wrong with a gift that gives back, especially if you’re giving to a cause they’ll truly care about.
When you do buy stuff…
Have they been dropping hints that they really want a new pair of sunglasses? Do you always buy matching pajamas for Christmas morning? Are you just dying to surprise them with a gift that’ll always make them think of you?
Giving “stuff” is almost inevitable during the holiday season. Once you have your mind set on the perfect gift, however, take a step back and ask how that gift was made. Giving gifts is a warm and fuzzy time, so make sure you’re giving a present that you can feel great about! By shopping for products made responsibly, you can give with a guilt-free (warm and fuzzy) conscience! Plus, shopping for sustainable gift options can lead to fun and creative ideas! Here are a few of our favorite sustainable gift ideas this year:
For the person in your life that never seems to catch their breath, this Coloring Book made from recycled paper is the perfect chill-out gift!
For those that could use some on-the-go sustainability, the Zero Waste Lunch Kit is an essential. Set your loved ones up for success with all of the on-the-go basics, including Bee’s Wrap food wraps, a Klean Kanteen food canister, and a set of bamboo utensils from To-Go Ware!
Everyone loves a great pair of new socks for the holidays. This year, gift this holiday classic with a recycled twist! These Origo Casual Socks are made using 85% recycled material, so you can gift these with a clear conscience!
Wrap It Up
Sustainable gift giving is about more than just the present inside. Imagine this: it’s time to open presents. Kid, teens, and adults alike are ripping into their gifts like their life depends on it. Five minutes go by, and it’s time to clean up. What happens to all of the wrapping paper, tissue paper, bags and bows? Spoiler alert: a lot of it ends up in the trash. So, what can you do about that? Well, there are a few things:
- Create an eco-friendly tradition: Reuse some of your favorite gift bags year after year.
- Find creative ways to reuse: From old magazines to newspaper, try creating fun packages with materials you have around the house! Not only will you be saving money and saving paper, but you’ll be adding a personal touch that traditional wrapping paper just can’t give.
- Sort and conquer: As you’re crumpling up any non-reusable paper, sort out anything that’s recyclable or compostable! Check out this handy chart to help you know where things go.
There are many ways you can reduce your holiday footprint this year, and sustainable gift giving is just one. From reducing holiday party food waste to turning down the thermostat, we can all find ways to lower our impact. Share your tips for enjoying a more sustainable holiday season in the comments below!