‘Tis the season for love and gratitude but also eating great food and giving gifts to the people you love. But with all of the fun comes the responsibility to celebrate this season with Mother Earth in our hearts by doing our part to minimize our environmental footprint. By purchasing items with zero-chemicals and little waste, we’re one step closer to minimizing our effect on the planet this holiday season. We’ve put together a list of five ways you can transform your holiday into one that’s kind to the earth this year. Here’s how we do it:
1. Make Lists:
This is a key to avoid holiday stress from the time crunch, over-spending and unnecessary buys. Make a little holiday planner, digitally or in a notebook, with lists for each category which might include: gifts, food and decor. Then write down: what you have, what you need and where you’re going to get it from. This lets you put all of your thoughts down and visualize everything because it’s in one place. It lets you avoid polluting the air by driving around to many different stores and gives you a plan for how to best purchase each item. You end up saving money because you’re shopping with a purpose rather than wondering around stores aimlessly, which we’ve all done.
2. Gift Experiences:
You know what never goes out of style and we can’t have too many of? Memories. They’re the perfect presents that will actually go to use rather than sitting around. Some of our favourite experience gifts include: cruelty-free pedicures, massages, movie passes, weekend getaways and romantic picnics. There’s tons of different pricing options when it comes to experience gifts so whether it’s your work secret Santa or a gift for mom and dad, the ideas are endless. Also, depending on who you’re giving it to, you can always include yourself in those plans to make the present extra special as an excursion for both of you. It’s a super simple way to show someone you care and are thinking of them, while minimizing the waste that comes from material things. We love fashion, but you can only give your sister so many turtle neck sweaters.
3. Homemade Over Store Bought:
This goes with gifts and the food you’re bringing to parties. It’s super easy and convenient to head to the store and buy pre-made dishes or a pre-packed gift set, but this causes a lot of plastic waste and can be expensive. By making your own food and presents you takeaway the extra costs from the middle man and can more easily control the amount of waste being produced. There’s tons of DIY holiday food and drink ideas plus endless handmade presents that every person on your list can enjoy. And as always, it gives a beautiful personal touch to show your gratitude this holiday.
4. Reusable Wrapping
Wrapping is a huge part of the holidays but causes a lot of waste. Approximately 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper get’s thrown out in Canada each year alone. The key is to use items that can be reused in convenient ways or to package it with things you already have at home, rather than buying new things. This saves the cost of wrapping and lessens the waste you cause with each gift. Things like: scarves (that you can add as a part of the gift), shipping boxes (you maybe got from your latest online delivery) and recyclable brown paper (tied with twine and dried plants) are great wrapping ideas. A tip for standard wrapping paper is if you can crunch it into a ball with your hand and it stays in a ball you can recycle it, but if it opens up, it goes in the garbage
5. Decomposable Decor:
It’s easy to get caught up in the sparkly wreaths and jingly bells as you’re getting into the holiday spirit, but think about the plastics and toxic chemicals that are going into making those decorations. They’re cute, but being eco is cuter, which is why decorations that are made out of natural materials are a great idea. To make them, you can just go for a walk and collect pine cones, pine leaves, twigs and berries that have fallen on the ground for your materials. You can even cut up some oranges and dry it out with cinnamon sticks in the oven for another pop of colour and nice smell. From this you can make table settings, hanging decor and wraps for the staircase, which can all be tossed in compost bin or saved when you’re done. You can easily make your own waste-free decorations and look trendy while doing so, plus it’s a fun way to get into the holiday spirit.
If you’re not in the crafty mood, here’s some in-store brands that make great eco-holiday gifts: