The holidays can be a challenging time for those who are trying to live sustainably. But it is important to try to move away from excess consumerism, and towards a better future. Here are some tips to help you have a sustainable holiday season:
Deck The Halls For a Sustainable Holiday
Decorating your home can be a great way to get into a festive mood. But how can you do so without harming our planet? Well, here are a few suggestions:
Live trees > fake trees.
- Choose a live tree over a fake one. Live trees are compostable and will break down once you are finished with them unlike plastic ones that end up in the landfill.
- Consider renting a living tree rather than buying one.
- Alternatively, consider opting for other decoration instead. Rather than decorating a tree, decorate branches, upcycled timber or other materials, or bring evergreen vegetation into your home for natural garlands and willow wreathes.
- Decorate your tree with reused ornaments from the previous years, or second-hand finds.
- Make your own DIY ornaments with natural or upcycled materials. For example, make wooden ornaments with twigs and cut logs, string red berries on strings, or upcycle some old CDs or other items that might otherwise end up in landfill.
How festive does this orange & cranberry garland look?!
Choose Sustainable Food Options
We all like to eat a lot over the festive season. But unfortunately, all that excess comes at a cost – not just financially, but for our planet. Some things you can do to eat more sustainably this holiday season include:
PS. Choosing natural decorations for the dinner table looks so nice!
- Choosing only turkeys or other meat reared in an ethical, free-range, sustainable way.
- Buying fresh, local, organic farm-to-fork ingredients.
- Opting for more vegan or vegetarian options and reducing meat consumption.
If you're eating out, have a container on you for leftovers (if there are any)!
- Cooking from scratch rather than choosing packaged, processed foods.
- Shopping with a list, and buying only what you really need and want.
Give Sustainable Gifts
Giving gifts is one of the joys of the holiday season. But how can we make sure that our presents are ones that will be appreciated, and which won't cost the earth? Here are a few suggestions:
No glitter plastic wrapping paper needed here.
- Make your own cards and gifts, rather than buying them.
- Consider gifting beautiful and useful pre-loved or upcycled items.
- Buy natural gifts from local craftsmen and women, rather than from abroad, to cut the carbon costs of transporting these items.
- Think about gifting experiences rather than things.
- Make your own wrapping paper/ gift boxes from card, scrap paper, old magazines etc.. Don't buy harmful and polluting plastic-faced papers from the store.
Get crafty with it! Fabric makes an awesome gift wrap that can be reused.
Many people travel over the holiday season. But travel can have a huge carbon cost and harm our planet. Here are some ways to reduce your impact when you travel to be with family or friends:
- Avoid flying whenever possible.
- Take the train if possible, or drive instead.
Public transportation is a sustainable option for travels! Not to mention, easy on your wallet too.
- Car pool with others to reduce the impact of road trips.
- If hiring a car, try to choose a hybrid or electric car if possible.
- If travelling close to home, consider public transport or slow travel solutions like cycling or walking instead.
Have a Zero Waste Holiday
The holiday season can be a wasteful time. To move closer to a zero waste festive season, try to:
- Prevent food waste, not only by buying less, but also be saving leftovers to share.
- Reduce the amount of plastic packaging you bring into your home. Shop local, take your own bags, and choose items without excessive packaging where possible.
- Compost scraps from cooking.
Composting conserves landfill space and reduces harmful emissions.
- Donate unwanted gifts and other items to thrift stores or give them away online.
- Save and reuse gift wrap from presents you receive for next year, or for use in crafts.
- Cut up greetings cards you receive to make gift labels for next year.
These are just some of the ways to reduce your impact and have a more sustainable holiday season.