The holiday season is here, and that means lots of time with family, delicious food, fun activities and traditions- and unfortunately, a lot of excess waste. To help you sustainably navigate the holiday season, we’ve put together a low waste holiday gift guide, so you can enjoy the holidays to their fullest, without the waste!
Use low waste holiday decorations
Decorating is one of the best parts of the holidays, and there’s nothing like feeling and seeing the holiday cheer adorning your home. However, a lot of the decorations we use are made from plastics and have a high carbon footprint.
Luckily, there are so many low waste alternatives. First off, using LED lights is an easy sustainable switch, and then you can turn to nature and DIY crafts to decorate!
DIY orange garlands, sprigs of pine in vases, gingerbread men ornaments, a homemade wreath, cranberry garlands- the options go on and on! We love heading to Pinterest for some DIY holiday décor inspiration.
Rethink gift giving
Rethinking gift giving doesn’t need to mean giving up on gifting all together, but rather rethinking our default to focus heavily on consumerism and over buy gifts that often will be discarded or not used.
We wrote a whole sustainable gift guide filled with ideas for low waste gift giving, including gifting experiences rather than presents, shopping second hand, DIY-ing your gifts, and more. Check out the guide here.
Skip wrapping paper
While we’re on the subject of gifts, another major waste culprit is wrapping paper. It’s usually not recyclable, so huge amounts of paper ending up in the trash every holiday season.
Rather than using store bought paper, there are tons of fun low waste wrapping alternatives! Newspaper, pieces of material, tote bags, brown paper (this actually can be recycled!), are just a few ideas to get you started. Look around and see what you already have on hand that can be used to wrap your gifts.
Sending out holiday cards is a lovely holiday tradition and is a wonderful way to keep in touch with loved ones and spread holiday cheer. However, all of those paper cards are usually thrown out after they’re read, resulting in a lot of extra waste.
An easy alternative (and one that will save you a trip to the post office) is sending e-cards! This will allow you to keep in touch with friends and family, without the waste.
Holiday food is one of our favorite parts of the season, but it’s easy to go overboard and end up with a ton of wasted food. For your next holiday party or gathering, try cutting down on the amount of food you bring- it never all gets eaten and usually a large portion ends up in the trash.
Another great way to reduce waste is to buy your holiday food locally. Buying from local farmers, bakeries, and markets helps to support your local small businesses, strengthen your community, and reduce waste.
Simplify the holidays
Holidays have become synonymous with excess, but it doesn’t need to be that way! The biggest low waste tip of all is simply to do, buy, and use less.
This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holidays to the fullest! It just means taking an inventory of what you do during the holidays and seeing where it may make sense to cut back.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do, be, and spend so much over the holidays that cutting back may just be the best gift you can give yourself.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season from all of us at SOL!