Eco-friendly Winter Holiday Tips

Eco-Friendly,Lifestyle

 Christmas is here, some eco-friendly holiday tips for you.

My house may be the only house that celebrates Christmas who has yet to put up decorations.    The internet has been buzzing about shopping small, supporting Black businesses, and being conscious consumers.  It has been great to see.  However, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is one of our most wasteful times a year.  Rather than further throwing more businesses into the mix, I thought I would update this post to encourage the, “cultural switch,” needed to improve our consumption habits.  When gift-giving this year, choose to participate in a way that fuels the people instead of fueling the machine that continues to exploit the people where you can.  Here is a list of eco-friendly winter holiday tips.

 

Reign it in this Black Friday. Black Friday is when American consumerism is at an all-time high.  Consider participating in a Buy Nothing on Black Friday event or a Big Clean Up event.  If you must participate, think before you buy.  If you are purchasing items for yourself, think do I really need this?  Is there an independent retailer/small business that sells this?  If you’re buying for other people, be mindful of how many things you are purchasing.  Is it something you know they would love or need?  Remember, you don’t have to give courtesy gifts to everyone you know.  But if you really want to, check numbers 5 and 6 on the list to do it consciously. 

Host a swap, shop second hand.  Safely of course! I am not promoting gathering in groups to engage in a swap during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The logistics are up to you, but having a Buy Nothing Secret Santa is really fun!  We all have clothing, accessories, home goods, all types of things that are like new that someone would appreciate and doesn’t contribute to more waste.  There are also brands and groups that sell second hand clothing like Thred Up and Swap SocietySolve for X Together is a mutual aid organization that sells upcycled, one of a kind clothing to raise money to support Queer and Trans Black people and Indigenous people of color, for a few ideas.

Christmas tree and other holiday decorations.  There are many things to consider when getting a Christmas tree.  I am going to rank them from most to least eco-friendly.

  • No tree at all!  Check this link for examples.
  • Rent a fresh tree.
  • Buying a fresh tree, then composting it.
  • Purchasing a fresh tree then throwing it away.
  • Getting a fake tree and keeping it for at least 10 Christmases to offset its carbon emissions.
  • Buying a fake tree and not reusing it.

Give experiences > stuff. Invest in helping someone create memories or learning something new.  Give the gift of an experience this year.  My typical recommendations would normally include concerts, restaurants, or theater experiences but those are all on pause, due to the pandemic.  There are still ways to support local artists and businesses without buying items that take up space and make waste.  A cooking class, fitness membership to their favorite type of workout, registration to a cool virtual event, get creative.

 Donate to a cause on someone’s behalf. There are many organizations that are doing good things for the world, in all sectors.  Make a donation to a group doing important work for marginalized people.

 Shop locally. I love supporting small businesses, being a part of a small business community has been really fulfilling. When you support a small business, you are supporting an actual person and their livelihood, or fueling their passion. Also, products of small businesses tend to be made with love. 

 Zero waste products make great gifts. Becoming zero waste can help simplify your counters and cabinets, while drastically reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our landfills and oceans. Mason jars are perfect containers to put chocolates, spices, bath salts, laundry powders, etc. Bamboo toothbrushes, reusable makeup removal pads, reusable paper towels with super cute designs are all examples of gifts that can help one of your loved ones take the first step to limiting their waste. 

 Giftwrap. There are a few options of ways to be conscious about wrapping gifts.  Here is another ranking situation, ranging from most eco-friendly to least:

  • Not wrapping gifts in anything.
  • Finishing any rolls of gift wrap you have already bought.
  • Using saved paper bags, tissue paper, boxes, and stuffing from other gifts, purchases, and packages.
  • Wrapping gifts using repurposed items like newspaper, paper bags, fabric scraps.
  • Buying brand new wrapping paper, gift bags, and gift boxes.

Enjoying the holidays doesn’t mean it has to put a damper on your holiday traditions. Buy less and consciously. Be informed and spread the word! Happy Holidays and cheers to becoming eco-friendlier in 2020!