10 Tips for a Joyously Green Christmas

Christmas is a time of year that brings great joy, love, and unfortunately, a lot of waste. Did you know there's a 25% increase in waste during the holiday season? It doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some eco-friendly and creative ways to reduce waste and make your holidays more sustainable.

DIY and nature inspired gifts image from Canva

1. Mindful Gifting

When buying gifts think less but better. Ask people what they genuinely need or want. Observe and listen to their needs. Could they use a new sweatshirt? Is there a restaurant they've been wanting to go? Experience gifts, like concert tickets or a cooking class, also leave no waste behind.

Homemade gifts are personal and eco-friendly. Consider making body scrubs, bath salts, cookie mixes in jars, homemade soap, jams, or themed baskets. These gifts are not just unique but also show you care.

2. Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

Traditional wrapping paper, often laden with glitter and plastic, cannot be recycled. Instead, opt for recycled or recyclable paper. Before rushing to buy new wrapping paper, use up what you already have. Salvage packaging paper and twine, or reuse old gift bags and boxes for a unique touch. You can also get creative with fabric wraps that can be reused year after year. They add a personal touch and can be part of the gift itself. 

Furoshiki Gift wrapping image from Canva

3. Conscious Holiday Meals

Food waste is a significant issue during the holidays. Plan your meals carefully to avoid overbuying and consider plant-based options which have a lower environmental impact. Don’t forget to save leftovers! Compost any scraps to reduce your environmental impact further.

4. Leftover Management

In Mexico we have this wonderful tradition called "recalentado". Everyone is invited to eat warm leftovers the next day. There's barely any left after recalentado, but if there is, encourage guests to bring their own containers for leftovers. This practice reduces food waste and ensures you don’t end up with too much. You can also repurpose containers, like those from Chinese food, for guests to take food home.

5. Choosing the Right Christmas Tree

Opt for a real tree over a fake one. If you already own a fake tree, make sure you're going to reuse it for at least 10 years. Learn why real trees are more eco-friendly and how to recycle them after the holidays. If it is potted think about replanting it.

Why not go a step further and consider renting a Christmas tree?

Real Christmas Tree image form Canva

6. Zero Waste Home Décor

Decorating is a big part of the holiday charm. Use natural elements like pine garlands, pinecones, berries, and foliage to create beautiful, eco-friendly decorations.

LED lights consume less energy and last longer. This not only reduces your energy bill but also minimizes the environmental impact associated with energy production.

And remember, the most eco-friendly decoration is the one you already own!

7. Reusable Partyware

Say no to disposable plates, cups, and cutlery. Invest in reusable partyware or rent them. Not only does it reduce waste, but it also adds a touch of elegance to your gatherings. 

Christmas dinner with reusable partyware image from Canva

8. Eco-Friendly Cards

Sending holiday cards? Choose cards made from recycled materials or, better yet, go digital. E-cards are a waste-free way to spread holiday cheer.

9. Connect with Nature

Plan a peaceful walk through nature on Christmas day. You can also spend an hour cleaning up or enhancing a natural area. 

Kids playing in nature image from Canva

10. Recycle and Reuse

Be diligent about recycling during the holidays. Break down cardboard boxes, recycle wrapping paper where possible, and reuse decorations. Save any special gift wrap, ribbons, and bows.

As you can see having a green and sustainable Christmas is easier than you might think and still just as fun. All it requires are a few tweaks to what you already do!

Christmas is a time of giving and a time for family. What a great opportunity to start a new family tradition of giving back to earth and instilling the values of sustainable living to your children, friends, and family.