How to Have an Eco Friendly Holiday Season

The holiday season brings thoughts of shopping bags, gift giving, wrapping paper, tape, ribbons, and a lot of wasteful habits. Going all-out this holiday season, no matter what you celebrate or how you celebrate it, doesn’t have to mean producing a lot of trash in your household.

Give a gift to our planet and try and be as eco-friendly as possible! I did some research on how exactly to do that, because when it comes to the holidays my family and I have a routine on gift-giving that’s down to a science, but it’s time to change it up. Here are some tips and tricks to be more eco-friendly as we the holiday season hypes up:

Shop Local. 

Ordering off of Amazon is easiest and sometimes it feels like it’s the quickest option, but it takes a lot of transportation, plastic, and unnecessarily large cardboard boxes for those Amazon orders to get to you. If speed is your concern, why not stop over at the local holiday market near you and get your gift on demand? There are great holiday markets at Union Square and Bryant Park (personally, I love the Union Square one and it’s conveniently local to NYU campus) that offer unique gifts you never would have dreamed of from your Amazon searching! You support local vendors in New York and you also get to take your gift home with you waste-free. There’s also nothing like it to get you in the holiday spirit. Grab some friends and make a day of it! 

Reusable and Recyclable Wrapping Paper. 

When my family exchanges gifts, we have a trash bag ready to collect all the wrapping paper excitedly torn off and the scraps of ribbon everywhere. By the end of the holiday, there ends up being at least a full trash bag or two full of our wrapping paper! If this sounds familiar, don’t fret. There’s so many other options that don’t have to end up in a trash bag. 

A company called Wrappily prints festive designs on completely recyclable newsprint for its eco-friendly wrapping paper. They also have articles offering tips on how to reuse wrapping paper to give it a second life, and stats that raise awareness on how much waste conventional wrapping paper produces. 

Another great option is to purchase reusable gift bags that can be used again and again year after year. There are many great options on Etsy, but this one is my personal favorite because it can be customized, so the gift tag is taken care of too! Another company, Lilywrap, creates stretchy reusable gift-wrap-bags that solve the problem of strangely shaped gifts. The bags also come complete with a beautiful ribbon. Some come in holiday-specific patterns, others come in solid colors that can be used for any occasion. 

Use natural decorations to get festive. Use extra evergreen sprigs or smaller pinecones to adorn your gifts in a naturalistic but festive way! 

Try getting gifts that aren’t plastic galore. 

Better yet, do you know what doesn’t have any plastic in it? Cookies! (Or at least I would hope they don’t have any plastic in them) Make your own baked goods to give away in paper bags with heartfelt holiday messages written on them.  Or if the younger ones are asking for toys full of plastic for their gift, try to get them toys made of wood.  

Do all of your online holiday shopping and brainstorming using Ecosia! 

Ecosia is a free extension of Google Chrome that uses the revenue they make from ads to plant trees. The more searching you do from Ecosia trying to find the perfect gift, the better! So go ahead and overthink the gift to get for your family and for your friends (as I’m doing too. It’s so hard to get the people we love something that really reflects how much we appreciate them sometimes, right?) but do it all on Ecosia so we can add some more trees to this holly, jolly season. 

I hope you consider some of these tips as you head into the height of your holiday season, and I hope your holiday is one that brings you closer to the ones you love. Happy Holidays! 

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