It’s that time of year again! Most of us are busy and bustling about, getting ready for the holidays. Family meals need to be prepped and planned - presents wrapped, lights hung, and so many other festive traditions that make the holiday season one of the best times of the year. However, no matter the schedule or how scattered you may feel, it is important to remain environmentally conscious. To make that as easy as possible, here are 5 simple ways to live more sustainably this holiday season:
1) Shop Local
As more and more brands leave mass e-commerce sites like Amazon, it is an important reminder that supporting local and smaller businesses should be at the forefront of our minds. Supporting local shops means that you are strengthening the community you belong to. In fact, you may even be helping your own neighbor - and isn’t that what the holiday spirit is all about? Instead of wasting money and resources on shipping products, head down to your local shopping plaza to see what you can purchase within your own town.
2) Buy a Real Christmas Tree
Think that getting a plastic, reusable tree is a more sustainable option? In this case, you’d be wrong! Christmas trees are grown as a crop, like lettuce or corn. They take nearly a decade to grow, and during that time they play a role in assisting the land they are planted. Although fake trees can be reused from year to year, most of the artificial trees found in the homes of Americans are made of PVC and steel in China and then shipped to the United States. No matter how many years you use your artificial tree, eventually it will end up in landfills. Our suggestion - find a tree farm in your area to support local, and keep this tradition alive.
3) Eco-friendly Wrapping Paper
Think about the amount of paper thrown away each year on December 26th… Yikes! Instead of picking up new rolls of wrapping paper this year, try using old newspaper or fabric wrappings on your gifts. Not only will you feel better about generating less waste, but you can even get a little creative and make your own designs!
4) Give Sustainably
The best way to spread the message of sustainability and green living is by sharing the love! Focus on supporting brands that have environmentally responsible business practices. You may have to do a bit of research to find what companies fit the bill, but it’s totally worth it. Another way you can spread the message of sustainability is through gifts such as reusable water bottles or aluminum straws. Finally, rather than giving material objects, give experiences! Spending a day at the movies, a weekend staycation, or a fancy dinner are great gifts for the people in your life who seem to have everything they need.
5) Use Energy Saving LED Christmas Lights
Look around your neighborhood this holiday season and you will see many houses decorated with a beautiful array of lights. These bring holiday cheer and are a fun way to celebrate, but there are a few ways to reduce the amount of energy and money spent from this tradition. If there is one piece of advice to take away from our suggestions, DO NOT use incandescent lights! A very small fraction of electricity is actually used to produce the light, the remaining majority is lost as heat! If you’ve used these lights before, you may be familiar with the heat these lights give off. Rather than using incandescent lights, make the change to LEDs. According to Darren Vader at The Christmas Light Emporium, LED lights use less energy and are substantially longer-lasting when compared to incandescent lights. You can also purchase a light timer to automatically control when your lights are displayed. This will save the length of your bulbs, keep energy cost down, and lessen your impact!
We hope that you keep these tips in mind and have a very Happy Holiday season!