This holiday season is anything but normal. We’re dealing with an ongoing pandemic in the midst of political and social unrest. Add climate change on top of that, and it’s no wonder that people are wondering what this holiday will look like.
The good news is that even during times of uncertainty, you can still enjoy time with your family. You can also do your part in the fight against climate change by taking control of your consumption and have an eco-friendly holiday season while still creating wonderful memories you’ll cherish forever.
Here are some tips for a more sustainable holiday season.
Choose Healthier Treats—And Go Homemade or Local
We all eat a little too much over the holidays. While it’s okay to overindulge from time to time, it’s always best to choose healthier alternatives whenever possible. Diet has an impact on children’s well-being, and it’s a good idea to limit sugar and promote healthy habits.
You don’t have to eliminate your family’s favorite holiday “cheat” foods altogether, but it’s important to think about the impact of these treats. They often come in plastic packaging and can be full of preservatives. Try making your own versions of favorite holiday foods, or buy locally-produced treats to cut down on packaging and transport.
Make Your Own Decorations and Choose Energy-Efficient Bulbs
So many ornaments and decorations are made out of cheap plastic, which is terrible for the environment. Why not enjoy a new tradition of making your own holiday decorations as a family? No matter which holidays you celebrate, there are tons of options.
You’ll find tons of inspiration online, including popsicle or paper snowflakes and felt garlands. Or, you can take on an old-fashioned project like popcorn strings for the tree! These projects usually don’t involve plastic and are more meaningful than store-bought decorations.
If you buy holiday lights, make sure they’re energy-efficient. Not only is this eco-friendly, but you’ll also save money.
Rethink Wrapping Paper
If you’re giving gifts this year, have you thought about how much wrapping paper and tape you’ll use? It’s not a very sustainable tradition, even if it is fun.
The good news is that there are lots of great alternatives you can consider. If you sew, you can make cloth wrapping bags to reuse over and over again. Or, why not wrap gifts in newspaper? Anything you can repurpose is more eco-friendly than printed wrapping paper.
Get a Sustainable Tree
Most trees end up in a landfill after Christmas is over. Worse, many of these trees are grown using lots of pesticides.
The good news is that you have options now. You could get a live tree and plant it in your backyard after Christmas. That can be a great family tradition.
You can also buy a pesticide-free tree and arrange for recycling after Christmas. Artificial trees are made of plastic, but they can be a decent alternative if you plan to use them year after year.
Put some thought into which option is best for you. There’s always a better solution than just tossing your tree in the trash!
Plan Activities At Home: During a Pandemic, No Need to Waste Gas!
Lots of people are disappointed this year because the pandemic has made it unsafe to travel for the holidays. If you’re used to flying or driving to see family, then you’re probably feeling a little sad about missing your usual traditions.
There is a silver lining to this, though: you won’t be wasting gas or jet fuel on your way to your holiday activities. You have an opportunity to create fun, eco-friendly traditions that are less stressful. For example, hot chocolate and puzzles on a cold evening can be way more fun than a stressful family dinner.
Make the most of this time and see if you can replace your travel with something just as fun!
Donate And Recycle After New Years
The new year is a perfect time to reset. After the holidays, you might find yourself feeling bogged down by extra stuff. If it’s time to purge your belongings, make sure to do it responsibly.
Unless an item is completely unusable and can’t be recycled, don’t throw it away. Donate usable items and recycle everything else. We all need to take an active role in keeping as much trash as possible out of our landfills!
An eco-friendly holiday season doesn’t have to feel like deprivation. With a little creativity and the right mindset, you can have your best holiday yet—while keeping your carbon footprint small.