Ten Amazing Ways to Give Back to the Planet this Holiday Season
There are so many amazing ways to spend the holiday season, but unfortunately for many, the holidays become a very busy time of year. There are parties, family gatherings, work deadlines – you name it – and sometimes we can get lost in all the shuffling. With all the chaos of the holiday season, it can be easy to gloss over being eco-friendly to stock up for family feasts or when you are rushing around doing last-minute shopping.
But taking time to give back to the planet this holiday season makes the season feel that much more gratifying. “It is possible to have enjoyable and memorable holidays and buy and spend less this holiday season by embracing some changes in our consumer habits,” says Garrette Clark, a sustainable living expert with the United Nations Environment Program. And we have made a list to help you get started.
Ten amazing ways to give back to the planet this holiday season
1. Shop Local
Buying locally not only supports local artists and your community, it also strengthens the local economy. As a bonus, buying locally is environmentally friendly because it reduces your carbon footprint by having a short transportation time, thus reducing carbon emissions, as well as promoting energy conservation since smaller businesses use less energy for manufacturing and practice sustainably.
2. Reduce Food Waste
Limiting your food waste this holiday season is a great way to give back to the planet. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that household waste increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Encourage leftovers, donate extra food to neighbours or food banks, compost any food waste you can’t use, and plan ahead.
3. Gifting Experiences Over Things
Gifts can be memorable, but you’re never going to forget a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Gifting an experience such as a concert, day trip or even a cooking class can be meaningful and allow for an enjoyment filled memory creation. Another idea is to donate to a cause that you know will be meaningful to the gift recipient; a local idea for animal lovers is the Happy Herd Sanctuary, a farm animal sanctuary for abused animals. Plus, gifting experiences are more sustainable than material goods!
4. Recycle Your Christmas Tree
It’s always a slight conundrum to figure out what to do with your Christmas tree once Christmas is over. Recycling your tree is the best way to give back to the planet this holiday season – they can be shredded to create fertilizer, be repurposed into soil erosion barriers, and even be used as barriers for hiking trails. The possibilities are endless. You can check your local city website to see where you can recycle your tree, whether that be a transfer station or a junk removal company.
5. Wrapping: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Disposable wrapping paper gets sent to landfills, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and damage to both human and wildlife health. An easy way to mitigate this problem is to use materials you already have or reuse wrapping paper from previous years. You can use items like fabric or towels, newspapers, brown paper bags, or even magazine pages. Think outside the box to be able to wrap the box sustainably.
6. Sustainable Holiday Food
Incorporating items such as checking if the meat you purchase is from a farm that practices regenerative agriculture, or adding more plant-based dishes into the holiday meal are easy small changes you can do to help give back to the planet this holiday season. You can also make homemade versions of your favourite store-bought foods to help be more sustainable!
7. Digital Cards
Try digital gift cards this holiday season! They’re easy to personalize, have tons of designs to choose from, and are more environmentally friendly. Digital gift cards reduce paper waste and deforestation, allowing us to give back to the planet one e-card at a time.
8. Edible Ornaments
Edible ornaments are a great way to use household items and connect more with nature. Try making popcorn strings, seed bells, or even dried orange slice garlands. For more ideas, click here.
9. Go Battery-Free
Try to go battery-free this holiday season if you can. Batteries end up in landfills when not disposed of properly, leading to potential chemicals leaking into our water supply. If you have to buy a product that does require batteries, see if you can find rechargeable batteries to go along with it.
10. Avoid Disposables
Avoid buying or using disposable household items when you are hosting get together or preparing meals. Ditch the idividually packaged drinks and buy in bulk instead. In addition, use alternatives for tinfoil and plastic wrap such as beeswax food wrap, stainless steel, or glass containers. Buy inexpensive cloth napkins that you can re-use every year and make your own table decorations from nature or decor that you own.
Being eco-conscious goes beyond holiday shopping and gift-giving. It can become a part of your everyday life if you make a conscious effort for it. We all forget or get busy sometimes, but the more we try, the bigger difference we can make. And if we share all these amazing ways to be kind to our planet this holiday season with others, the effort will spread and we can all make a difference together.
If you’re looking for more ways to give back to the planet, check out our blog or read some of these suggestions for more ideas: