While the Holidays are a magical time of year it is also a time of great consumption and waste. A few small changes can make all the difference.
7 Tips to Make Your Holiday A Little More Eco-friendly
- While plastic trees may seem like the sustainable option since they can be used year after year. Unfortunately, more often than not they end up in landfills like most other holiday decor. Buying real christmas trees, however, can help support your local community and lessen plastic waste. Buying your christmas trees regionally can help support local vendors while reducing larger transportation costs and emissions.
- Renting a tree is also an option. There are companies that ‘lend’ you a live tree for the holiday season. Afterwards you would return the tree to be re-planted and grown until the next holiday season. If your tree doesn’t always make it through the season, there’s still hope! You can turn the tree into a sustainable mulch option after the holidays as a great alternative.
- Wrapping paper is a Christmas essential. It tends to be one of the first things bought in preparation for the holiday season and is the first to be thrown away. Since wrapping paper is discarded almost immediately, consider green alternatives. Some options include cloth, beeswax, paper maps, newspaper, and even wrapping found in vintage or thrift stores. These alternatives are better for the planet and your wallet.
- LED lights were a thing of the future a few years ago, and now of common use in households all over the world. LED lights are not only good for the planet but good for one’s electricity bill. Christmas LED lights are a great alternative to the more traditional bulbs and are available in different holiday and festive options. So what benefits do LEDs provide? LED lights use up to 90 percent less energy than your traditional christmas lights and they also last twice as long! Adding a timer to your lights is also an easy way to cut your energy usage during the holiday season, making life easier for you as well after the initial purchase! This quick and easy switch is one of the best ways to be more environmentally friendly this holiday season.
- Tinsel. A holiday classic and an enemy to vacuum cleaners everywhere. Tinsel is also guilty of ending up in the bins in large quantities. Tinsel, made up of PVC, or a type of plastic that is not easily recycled or broken down. When disintegrated, the PVC material can release toxic fuels into the air. Not very festive is it? Alternatively, use sparkly beads to wrap your tree, or even the more traditional popcorn to make the tree more festive. A ribbon or a scarf threaded through the tree is also a cozy, more modern alternative used to decorate instead of the plastic. If your tree isn’t the same without the shiny decor, however, try to purchase a paper-based, sustainable alternative to keep your household ‘greener’ for the holiday season. Also, these alternatives are more kid and pet friendly! Plastic is just as bad for our loved ones as it is for mother earth.
- Reindeer food. A magical edition to every holiday season. The plastic wrapping and the excess glitter present in most store-bought reindeer foods? Not sustainable and not as festive as a different option you can make at home! Buying some whole carrots and celery as a part of your grocery list and leaving the ends for the reindeer food, with the addition of some quick oats makes a great alternative to the store bought stuff. Add the leftovers from the day after christmas to your compost for your garden, and you have yourself a sustainable and affordable alternative to reindeer food.
- Sharing is caring. Let’s say you want new ornaments for your tree this year because you are tired of the same old ones from your past holidays. Ask a friend! Every year my friends and I trade tree ornaments instead of buying new ones. This will reduce clutter in your home with less add-ons of decor stuffed in the garage/basement for 11 of the 12 months throughout the year when NOT in use. Which.. is a lot. It will also reduce factory production of tree decor throughout the world as less people will commonly/yearly buy decor. Set up this plan with friends to not only spice up your holidays with new (upcycled) tree decorations, but to also help the Earth’s mission to reduce plastic pollution and factory production on Christmas!
- The Earth is mourning and we need to do all we can to prevent the climate crisis from continuing and hurting our world. A major part of spreading eco-friendly christmas cheer is by contributing and having others notice. By having environmentally safe wrapping paper or biodegradable glitter, people will most likely ask about it. From there, it is important to share ideas and goals on frugal eco-friendly activities to help save the planet.