Looking for sustainable holiday tips? From eco friendly travel to buying a few cloth napkins, you can have a sustainable Christmas and eco friendly Thanksgiving with just a few small changes. Here are a few easy tips for a green holiday season to incorporate into your life this year.
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Why should you worry about sustainable holidays?
It’s only one or two days, right? Why bother planning a zero waste Christmas or a sustainable Thanksgiving meal? I mean, come on. How much extra waste is created during the winter holiday season, right? IT IS CRAZY!
According to Stanford University, Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week!
There is less than one month until Thanksgiving. Before you know it, chaos will reign with shopping, baking, kids birthdays (both in November and December!) and entertaining friends and family.
A green holiday season is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and simplify your life. Not to mention, how much the earth will appreciate your reduced waste production!
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Simple Green Holiday Tips
If striving for eco friendly holidays this year, you need to plan ahead a bit. Not sure how to plan a green Christmas? There are a lot of things you can do to ensure a slightly more sustainable holiday season this year.
While we shop, eat, and be merry, our carbon footprint grows and grows! In order to take a step back and reduce our environmental footprint, try a few of these green holiday tips while you are planning your schedule.
Choose Sustainable Holiday Food
Sustainable holiday food comes in a lot of forms. Make it from scratch like my homemade eggnog recipe, buy organic and/or local foods, recycle every piece of packaging you possibly can and then enjoy the feasts of your labor.
Get a free range turkey this year if you can’t afford to buy organic. I make most of the dishes from scratch although I will admit to buying store bought rolls. I just can’t seem to figure out how to make them as light and fluffy as the ones in the store.
It’s not all or nothing. Do what you can and don’t feel too guilty about the rest. Check out my post on how to save money on organic food to help you stay within your food budget.
Use Eco Friendly Holiday Decor
I get so tired of all the plastic garbage in department stores. The best way to have a green holiday season is to use natural decor items, cloth napkins and tablecloths.
Serve your meal on real dishes instead of disposable, and ditch as much of the plastic as you can. Yes, you can save the planet one fork at a time!
Ask your kids to make you paper pumpkins or turkeys out of construction paper and put them on the walls and windows. I would much rather see a homemade pumpkin craft that is slightly lopsided than mass produced plastic stuff any day.
What is better a real Christmas tree or a fake Christmas tree? Well, that is a WHOLE big discussion right there. If you are trying to decide on whether to get a real or fake tree check out my article on greener Christmas trees. There are pluses and minuses to both so you need to decide what is best for your own family.
More tips for a green holiday season:
- 5 Green Thanksgiving Tips Everyone Should Consider Where did that turkey come from? How much trash did you create? Where the heck did those green beans come from when there is snow on the ground already? Come learn more about an eco friendly Thanksgiving!
- Sustainable Gift Ideas for a Smaller Carbon Footprint Here are a few sustainable gift ideas in case you are looking for inspiration this holiday season.
- Eco Friendly Holiday Ideas for Even Non Crunchy People Here are a few more eco friendly holiday ideas that even the non crunchiest person can easily adapt!
Make your travel eco friendly
From pre trip car maintenance to eco travel destinations, your carbon footprint depends a lot on your budget and your destination. Holidays are all about spending time with friends and family and sometimes we need to travel in order to do it. And that is totally okay!
Check out my article on green travel suggestions for ideas on how to reduce the carbon footprint of your next road trip.
From your car to your kids, there are a ton of ways to lessen the environmental impact of your trip to see family this holiday season. Remember, pick the green holiday tips that work best for your family and don’t sweat the rest of them!
Green Cleaning and Organizing
This is the time of year that people like to purge their house of old things to make way for new toys and gadgets. Make sure you find new homes for your unwanted stuff so it does not end up in landfills.
One of my biggest tips for a green holiday season is to be mindful of what you throw away. Donate clothing to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
Recycle stuff animals in creative ways, donate books to the library and make sure that household chemicals are properly disposed of. Use Earth 911 to figure out how to dispose of your household items properly. Or, just grab an old toothbrush and tackle the bathroom sink.
Choose Sustainable Gifts
This is an area that many people could make a huge difference in when it comes to creating a green holiday season. Make gifts from scratch like my Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Scrub. Package it in a glass jar with a decorative card or ribbon and it is the perfect way to spoil someone who needs a little pampering this holiday season.
Make a donation in someone’s name if they really don’t NEED anything but you want to show you care. Check out my post on World Vision and give a gift to someone who truly needs it.
Talk to your family and friends and ask how they feel about second-hand gifts. It may seem a bit cheesy but honestly, a book is a book whether it has been read a hundred times or is brand new.
Choose organic or natural fiber clothing options for the fashionista on your gift list and do some research to find fair trade or hand made gift ideas that people can enjoy.
Sustainable Holiday Items to Consider
The holidays have a very large carbon footprint, however there are many choices that we can make to lessen our personal impact on the environment. Check out these eco friendly holiday projects on Amazon. Great for you, or give as gifts!
- Cloth napkins will help you reduce your garbage output and save money over the coming years.
- Choose recycled holiday cards to send to friends and family
- Get a holiday cookbook and start making your meals from scratch to reduce packaging waste.
More easy eco friendly holiday tips
Need a few more tips for a green holiday season? Here are a few you should try this year:
- Make your own wrapping paper. Use a tea towel or an old brown grocery bag.
- Get a pesticide free tree. Call around to your local tree farms and ask.
- Recycle your Christmas tree. Ask your local Scouting troop if they do it!
- Recycle your old technology if you are buying new.
- Offset your holiday footprint by making a donation to an environmental charity.
- Buy a reusable advent calendar.
- Use LED lights for your holiday decorations
When you are organizing your festivities and writing out your gift list, keep a few of these green holiday tips in mind! Have any other green holiday tips to share?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.