t’s the most wonderful time of the year, as they say! Want some tips on how to have a more eco-friendly Christmas season without breaking the bank or giving up any of the fun? We’ve got 20 of them for you.
As you get ready for the holidays this year, consider the three Rs. How can you reduce your purchases, reuse what you have, and recycle (or buy recycled) products? There’s a fourth R-word that you can keep in mind when shopping too. This one has to do with being just a little more responsible with regards to our impact on the environment.
Below are several easy ways to have a more eco-friendly holiday season.
20 Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Christmas Season
1. So many trees and natural resources are used each year for wrapping paper. This year, before purchasing wrapping paper, see what you may have at home, such as magazine pages, newspapers, catalogs, or brown grocery bags. You can also create a very special wrap by repurposing your children’s drawings and paintings. Get creative!
2. Turn on holiday lights only after dusk rather than keeping them on during daylight hours. You can also set timers to shut off your lights at a certain time rather than leaving them on overnight. This will save energy use while keeping your electric bill down.
3. When cooking or baking, do so in batches so the oven gets more efficient use.
4. Stop using plastic bags. If you can carry the item yourself or fit it in a purse, then do not accept a plastic bag. Plastic bags take an enormous amount of time to break down, and they are hazardous to animals and marine life. Instead, take reusable bags with you to the store.
5. Forget those sprays that are supposed to enhance the smell of your bathroom, along with those scented doo-dads into the wall. Those generally just release toxic chemicals into the air. You can use a drop of essential oil instead.
6. Share what you already have. Do a holiday swap with friends instead of buying gifts or decorations.
7. Make your own holiday decorations! Reuse materials to create special memories and decorations that can be displayed in your home from year to year.
8. Consider buying items secondhand. Head to a store, buy from a yard sale, or trade with friends. The items will still be new to you! Likewise, be sure to donate accessories and other items that may be a perfect fit for someone else.
9. If you must purchase something for wrapping presents, buy wrapping made from recycled or reusable materials.
10. Items, such as paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, and washed out milk cartons, can be donated to schools for craft projects. Or have fun with your own eco-friendly DIY project.
11. Use recycled batteries for your presents and decorations.
12. Be sure to recycle any packaging or items that can’t be repurposed. You can even recycle plastic bags at your local supermarket, and bring hangers back to the dry cleaner!
13. Make a holiday shopping list, and try to buy as many gifts as you can at one store or shopping center. You’ll remember to get something for everyone and will use less gas driving back and forth to different stores.
14. Get yourself an eco-friendly Christmas tree. Some of them are even made of recycled non-toxic PVC plastic tree tips that can last up to 30 years!
15. If you’re planning to get flowers for your home or as a gift, look for organic plants and flowers. They even sell organic wreaths!
16. Buy LED holiday lights. They will last longer and use less electricity, saving you money that you can put toward presents!
17. Shop at socially responsible retailers, both online and in-store. Look for items that are chemical-free, fair trade, made from sustainable materials, or simply made with minimal impact on the environment.
18. If you’d like to honor a teacher or loved one this holiday, consider planting a tree in his or her name through the Arbor Day Foundation. By shopping at TomatoInk.com, you also support the non-profit OneTreePlanted.
19. Serve organic food and wine to your family for the holiday season (and always). Enjoy your holiday meals without pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides.
20. Skip one meat dish and instead make more vegetarian dishes this year. Producing animal-based foods causes significantly greater greenhouse-gas emissions than non animal-based meals. So this year, consider replacing just one dish at your holiday table.
Tis the season to reduce, reuse, recycle — and be responsible too! Happy holidays!
Jessica Cohen is a health coach, a greener living enthusiast, and an advocate of social good. On her website, EatSleepBe.com, she provides tips for being kinder to yourself, to others, and to the planet. Additionally, Jessica enjoys consulting with like-minded companies to create site concepts, develop editorial and social media calendars, ghost write, publish press releases, and run successful outreach campaigns. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram at EatSleepBe.
Let us know below or on Facebook and Twitter how you’re planning an eco-friendly Christmas season.