Let's Have a Sustainable Christmas

Christmastime is undoubtedly one of the most exciting times of the year. But, sometimes with all of the gifts and shopping, it can end up being very wasteful. We've come up with some tips to help you have a sustainable (and of course, awesome) Christmas.

Gift Giving

It can be pretty tricky when it comes to sustainable gift giving during the holdiays - but we've got your back. Here are our best tips on how to make sure you are making ethical, smart, and sustainable choices this giving season.

Buy Secondhand

Buying gifts secondhand is actually an awesome idea - you can oftentimes find some really unique gifts! Try going thrift shopping this holiday season - you could find clothes, accessories, kitchen items, toys, etc! Some thrift stores (We love Savers) have a ton of tin or wicker holiday boxes which are perfect for gifting homemade cookies or baked goods in. We know that some people aren't too fond of the idea of secondhand gifts, so that's okay! We've got a ton of other ideas for you as well.

Experiences

For those people in your life who you feel like you've already bought everything they could have possibly wanted in past years, or for those who just love having fun - try gifting an experience! This is a great Christmas gift idea because it will be something that your loved one will remember and cherish. Here are some ideas!

  • Paint balling
  • Museum tickets
  • Nail salon gift card/spa treatment
  • Movie tickets
  • Amusement park passes
  • Sporting event tickets - football game, basketball game
  • Laser tag
  • A day at an animal sanctuary
  • Lessons - guitar, piano, ice skating
  • Concert tickets 
  • Musical/play tickets

Homemade Gifts

Some of the best gifts are homemade! You don't have to be super crafty (but if you are, then even better!) to give homemade gifts this holiday season. If you are crafty and love making fancy gifts, try crocheting knitting, or painting something for your loved ones! If you're not so artsy, here are some easy homemade gift ideas:

Supporting Small, Local Businesses

If the previous ideas don't suit your fancy, no worries! There are a ton of small, local businesses around that are so grateful for your support during the holiday season. You can use Google to find small businesses in your area, or even check out Facebook groups and ask around! Small business owners do a little happy dance when you purchase from them (a big corporation doesn't). Still having trouble finding small businesses to buy from? Etsy is a great start!

Gift Wrapping

According to The Wall Street Journal, gift wrap sales totaled $9.36 billion in 2010, which increased 4% from the previous year. This is more than the combined GDP of Africa’s 9 poorest countries. The "unsustainable" thing about gift wrap (wrapping paper) is its inability to be recycled because of its lamination and dyeing. Think about how many gifts you wrap for your friends and family every Christmas; Think of how many gifts they wrap you; Think of how many people are celebrating Christmas in the U.S., and across the globe. Yeah, it's nice to receive a gift that's nicely wrapped in aesthetically pleasing wrapping paper, but it's used for such a short period of time, and then just discarded. 

Wrapping Paper

Instead of purchasing paper to use for gift wrapping, one of the most sustainable things you can do is use items you already have in the house. For example, newspaper. If you don't have any newspaper lying around in your house, a friend or family member is bound to have some that's just going to get recycled after its read, anyways! Simply use it as you would a roll of wrapping paper. Sometimes you may have to use a couple of piece for one gift, but that's okay! Using newspaper as gift wrap can even be fun, too - try using the comics section! 

Another great option is using paper shopping bags - like the ones you get at grocery stores. These are much thicker than newspaper, so they're great for heavier or more fragile gifts. Wouldn't you rather not pay money to wrap your gifts, and also be friendly to the Earth at the same time?

Bows, ribbon, & name tags

Another thing to be mindful of is staying away from excessive bows, ribbons, and name tags. Most of these are made from plastic and will just get thrown out (and they're not essential, anyways). If you are a fan of bows and ribbons, save the ones you get and reuse them year after year! If needed, though, try using twine to tie your presents together and make bows. Instead of using name tags, just write directly on the gift wrapping paper with a permanent marker!

Bags & tissue paper

If you don't already do this, this Christmas is the time to start - when you receive presents in gift bags with tissue paper, make sure to save the bags to reuse for next Christmas or other celebrations, and if the tissue paper is still in good condition (wrinkly is fine!), flatten that out as well and reuse it for wrapping gifts! Who cares if your wrapping paper is a lil wrinkly? Not us!

Boxes

Have a gift that needs to be put in a box? Use an old shoe box instead of purchasing new gift boxes! Wrap it in some newspaper or a paper grocery bag and voila! Have some smaller gifts like jewelry, makeup, hand lotion, gift cards, etc.? Something funky and unique you can do is use those plastic fruit containers that strawberries and raspberries/blackberries come in. You could even get creative and decorate the box with some markers for a cute design!

Decorations

It can be tempting to pick up all the cute Christmas decorations you see in store, but the problem with these is that a lot of them are made with plastic and non-eco friendly materials. Instead, we have come up with some sustainable decoration ideas so you can make your home look festive while being kind to the planet!

Ornaments

When it comes to ornaments, we probably all have a ton that we've been putting on our trees since childhood. But, if it's your first time with a Christmas tree and you're in need of ornaments, there are actually a ton of sustainable ornament ideas that will make your Christmas tree pop, and not hurt the environment. Wooden ornaments are super easy to get your hands on, and they can be a fun activity for kids to decorate! 

Haven't bought any tree ornaments yet? No worries! Another fun DIY is these dried orange ornaments. They're super cute and will give you Christmas tree a pop of color. They're are super sustainable because they're literally just fruit - so they can be composted after the holidays! No plastic, here! Check out this tutorial on how to DIY!

Popcorn Garland

Thinking of some ways to decorate your Christmas tree? Try making some popcorn garland! ​This is a great replacement for plastic tinsel garland, and is fun to make with kids. Check out this tutorial on how to DIY!

We hope this helps you be a little bit more sustainable this Christmas! Try out any of our ideas and want to share? (Or have any other ideas of your own?) Let us know! Connect with us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

 

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