Let’s Enjoy a More Sustainable Holiday Season
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday season is all about connections, intentions, family, friendship, gratitude, sharing, caring and joy, but it does not need to be so wasteful!
Did you know that American families create 25% more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s?
Going green and minimizing waste during this time of the year is the greatest gift we can give to our family, our community, and our planet.
These tips will help you get started with a creative and meaningful holiday season that your family will never forget.
We might even take a lesson from the “Green Guy” himself: “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!” (from “The Grinch,” by Dr. Seuss).
Rethink your “buyerarchy” of needs when you give this holiday season
Do you have a strategy when it comes to holiday gift ideas and gift shopping? Do you order online months in advance or spend too much time making shopping plans? Have you ever bought the same gift twice for the same person? Most of the time, whatever our strategy, it’s a lot of preparation and stress.
Let’s try something a bit different this year! Think of usable and functional gifts, or traditional objects that have been in your family for decades that you want to pass along to the next generation.
Let’s look at what truly brings us joy.
“Buyerarchy of Needs” concept adapted from Sarah Lazarovic.
Give what you have
It might be the right time to go through all the stuff we have and don’t use or want anymore, then consider offering those items as presents to others. Maybe you have a nice scarf that happens to be Auntie Mary’s favorite colors, or a jewelry box that you had when you were little that might become a treasure box for your little niece. Whatever the item, make sure it’s not broken and has all the pieces.
Swap & thrift
If you are thinking about giving wearable gifts, how about organizing a "virtual" clothing swap night with your friends? You can also consider local secondhand shops in your area.
Consider making do-it-yourself pampering gifts. The internet is full of DIY homemade beauty gift ideas, like skin care lotions, facials masks and bath balls. Or think about homemade edible gifts. Did you know researchers found that baking for others increases happiness and reduces stress? It’s a form of mindfulness and altruism that brings self-satisfaction and confidence. I am certain your friends would appreciate a homemade batch of cookies or yummy jams presented in a nice tin or jar.
Buy gifts that will be used and reduce the chances of them becoming waste too soon. To find unique presents, there is nothing better than strolling through local holiday markets and shops, where you will find handcrafted functional treasures while supporting small businesses.
Or, you can become a “genie” who fulfills dreams. Create memories for others by offering experiences – cooking or art classes, creative box subscriptions, event tickets, gym memberships, family experiences, or trips. The advantage is that you do not need extra packaging to wrap them!
Be creative in term of wrapping gifts
Did you know that most of the wrapping paper we buy are not recyclable?
A common mistake many people make around the holidays is loading their recycling bins with wrapping paper, tissue, ribbons, and more. Unfortunately, the shiny, laminated paper is, in fact, not recyclable in most circumstances. Including it in the bin with other paper products can make an entire load unrecyclable. If wrapping paper is metallic, has glitter on it, or has a texture to it, it is not recyclable. (Source: Earth911.com)
It only takes a few seconds to unwrap a gift, and all that shredded paper heads off to the landfill.
Here are some wrapping gifts alternatives – some are recyclable some are reusable.
Clay flowerpots that come in different sizes and that you can paint and decorate to make them unique. These make fantastic gift boxes, that can be reused in Spring to plant a flower in.
Shopping paper bags, old maps, newspaper, magazines, or brown Kraft paper. When you think about it, there are a lot of paper types available in our everyday lives. Trim them and decorate them to wrap your bigger presents.