Rejoice Responsibly: 10 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season

Rejoice Responsibly: 10 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season.
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Rejoice Responsibly: 10 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season. Image Pexels.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Rejoice Responsibly: 10 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season

The holidays bring grand celebrations in the late fall and winter months. What’s better than eating delicious food, opening thoughtful gifts and spending time with family and friends? While the holiday cheer is fun, it can lead to overconsumption of resources and energy. How can you ensure an eco-friendly holiday season? 

Here are 10 tips for rejoicing responsibly.

1. Shop Locally

The season of giving means you’re likely to spend money on food, decorations, and presents this time of year. Your holiday supplies could come from anywhere worldwide, so tracking where they originate is essential. Local options are typically better because of their reduced carbon footprint and enhanced community support.

Check out farmers’ markets, craft stores, and boutiques for locally sourced items when shopping. Research products beforehand to see who the producers are and where their business is located. While some things on your list may require online ordering and shipping, try getting most of your items from a local supplier.

2. Use Sustainable Packaging

The holidays are an excellent time to give gifts and show your appreciation for loved ones. You’ll feel rejoiceful when you see the happy smiles on your recipients’ faces. If you’re wrapping and packing your gifts, use sustainable packaging for your presents.

First, you could opt for no paper at all. For instance, handkerchiefs and other soft fabrics can wrap small gifts and avoid consuming paper, thus reducing the demand for cutting trees. If you desire paper, search for biodegradable paper and packaging material. Using recycled paper and plant-based packaging lowers your carbon footprint and creates an eco-friendly holiday.

3. Gift With No Packages

Tangible gifts are common during the holidays because they’re the easiest to give. Electronics, food, jewelry and clothes are some of the popular presents you’re likely to gift. What if you kept the environment in mind and gifted experiences instead? You don’t have to wrap a present for the recipient to appreciate it.

Experiences deliver lifelong memories and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for the recipient. Give them tickets to see their favorite band in concert or a wine tasting. Cooking classes can open a whole new world of cuisine and delicious eats. These gifts may include a presentation but don’t require wrapping paper.

4. Consider Virtual Cards

Another idea for sustainable gift-giving is using virtual cards. This option is more sustainable because you don’t need to consume paper or in. You can find thousands of card options online, so pick the one most meaningful to the recipient.

Virtual cards are also more convenient than paper cards since you don’t have to worry about losing them in the mail or risk someone stealing them from the mailbox. Once you send the card, it only takes seconds or minutes to appear in your recipient’s email inbox. This feature is handy if you’re late sending gifts and want to get your cards in before Christmas Day.

5. Pick a Sustainable Tree

Decorating for the holidays is one of the most fun times of the season. Setting up a tree is a memorable bonding experience for couples, families and friends alike. When picking your tree, be eco-friendly and choose a sustainable one from the store or farm. Plastic trees are not biodegradable and negatively impact the environment the most, whereas natural trees have a lesser effect.

Your most sustainable choice this holiday season is a potted tree. This option is better for the environment because you can plant it once the season ends. Planting the tree will positively affect your area over time by releasing oxygen and providing habitats for local wildlife.

6. Hang Energy-Efficient Lights

Another special part of the holiday season for many is hanging lights and decorations outside. Having pretty lights, Santa Claus and reindeer on the front lawn sparks the holiday spirit. While these adornments are beautiful, some people refrain from using lights because they increase the utility bill and strain the power grid.

This season, make your lights eco-friendly by choosing light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures. LEDs affect the power grid less because they’re more efficient than incandescent and fluorescent devices. According to the Department of Energy, LEDs use 75% less energy than incandescent lighting, ensuring your holidays are more eco-friendly.

7. Reduce Waste at Holiday Dinners

Ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing and deviled eggs are only some foods you may eat during the holiday season. You and your guests will have no problem putting away food when it’s that delicious. Still, you should minimize waste by carefully planning your holiday dinners. For instance, determine the number of people coming and prepare the amount of food accordingly.

Another way to have an eco-friendly holiday is to source as many ingredients locally as possible. Center your side dishes around vegetables because they’ll be easier to find at local farmers markets. Once the holiday dinners are over, gather your scraps and compost them. Your soil will thank you because of the nutrients you’re giving it.

8. Recycle What You Can

The holidays bring a lot of food and presents into your home, meaning the garbage can pile up just as high. Americans produce an average of 25% more trash following the holidays than any other time of year. It’s easy to watch the garbage can fill up faster than usual. Still, there are strategies for reducing waste and being more eco-friendly.

Start by recycling what you can. For instance, you can recycle the wrapping paper and cardboard you get with many presents under the tree. Take the cans, bottles and plastic you use for holiday parties to a recycling center. Look around, and you’ll find numerous opportunities to reduce waste and help the environment.

9. Donate Old Electronics

Electronics are a popular holiday gift because of the deals you get this time of year. You may get a TV, cellphone, computer or another high-tech device. Newer gadgets are nice because they typically have the latest features, better battery and increased storage capacity. Think about your old electronics before you throw them in the trash.

If you don’t plan to use your older device, consider donating it to an electronic recycling center. This facility recovers valuable resources, such as plastic and glass, and reduces the amount of waste going to a landfill. Therefore, newer devices won’t have to consume as many new resources in their production.

10. Travel Efficiently

The holidays often mean it’s time to travel to see your loved ones. Flying or driving are the most common options for holiday travel, but they negatively impact the environment the farther you go. Find ways to travel as efficiently as possible this season. For instance, rent a hybrid or battery-electric vehicle (BEV) for your road trips. A BEV has no tailpipe emissions and is better for the environment than a gas-powered car.

Emissions may be difficult to avoid during the holidays, especially if you need to travel cross-country. Reduce your carbon footprint by driving conservatively to increase fuel efficiency and carpooling to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. Additionally, you can purchase carbon offsets used to plant trees and other environmental initiatives.

Having a Happy Holiday the Sustainable Way

The most wonderful time of the year brings terrific food, unique gifts and invaluable time with family and friends. However, we also risk overconsumption of energy and resources during the holidays, so make the season more eco-friendly with these 10 tips.

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