The holiday season is a time for spending time with your loved ones and being thankful for the people in your life. We give wrapped presents to show our appreciation and decorate our homes to truly get in the festive spirit. Unfortunately, we also inevitably create tons of waste that has a negative impact on our environment. While it’s impossible to fully eliminate this waste, there are things we can do to keep this joyous season environmentally friendly!
Recycle your gift bags and wrapping.
There are actually several ways you can keep your gift wrapping eco-friendly! Your Amazon packages probably came with an abundance of packing paper that ends up being stuffed in your recycling bin at the end of the day – but you can easily recycle this in house yourself! Use the packing paper to wrap your holiday gifts instead of purchasing wrapping paper. This is an easy way to reuse that paper, and it makes your presents look nice and minimal for that person in your life who just watched the Marie Kondo show on Netflix. If you already got rid of all of your packing paper, many stores now carry recycled wrapping paper. This is a great alternative to the standard wrapping paper.
After you open your own presents, make sure to save any gift bags or tissue papers. You can easily reuse these next year. Gift bags are expensive, and there’s no shame in recycling what you were given. Reuse those gift bags rather than sending them to the landfill!
Make food-gifts at home rather than buying in store.
A lot of us give yummy deserts as part of a holiday gift. It’s simple and something everyone will use and appreciate. However, most companies add a lot of extra packaging around this time of year to make these gifts look more fancy. For example, a company will sell a large decorated cookie tin with lots of plastic inside, but hardly any actual cookies! They focus on the appearance, but not what’s actually inside.
I can guarantee that if you spend some extra time making these foods at home, it will be so much more appreciated. It makes people feel great knowing that you spent time and work into creating their gift, instead of picking up a container of cookies from the store. It’s even better if you have a special recipe that no one else knows – then it’s extra special when you make it for them!
Reuse decor, and be smart about buying more!
Every year, stores have out cuter holiday decorations than they did last year. There’s always some new and unique decoration, or a new technology to make your house look like the coolest on the block. When you’re out shopping, make sure you take a full inventory of the decorations you already have before buying more. A big problem is that people don’t remember all the decorations they had the year before, and just keep buying more! Decorate your home with all of the decor you already had stored away. Then, if you feel like there’s some more decorations you’re needing, you can go out and buy some. Be smart about what you choose to buy. The holiday season is about spending time with your loved ones – and they won’t care that you’re using the same wreath from last year! Plus, all that money saved that would have gone to decorations can go to something else for your family.
Gift experiences – not things.
We all have those people in our life who already have everything they need. You can never go wrong with gifting them an experience. Do some research about fun things to do in your area, and buy them an excursion! This year, I gifted a family member a weekend getaway. I could have purchased them some gifts from the store, but they’re the type of person who would stick everything in their closet and never use it again. A lot of people don’t want to spend money on themselves to do different experiences, and this is a perfect way to do that for them. You don’t have to spend a ton of money either. A $48 gift card from BK Adventure will allow them to spend 2 hours kayaking with dolphins and manatees! Groupon is also a great place to gift someone an experience for a low price.