9 Ways To Be Eco-Friendly This Holiday

9 Ways To Be Eco-Friendly This Holiday

‘Tis the season to be green! Just because the holiday season is upon us doesn’t mean we have an excuse to become lax in our environmentally sustainable endeavors. Here at Pure Earth Pets, we believe the holidays are the perfect time to get creative and infuse this consumer-heavy season with some eco-friendly cheer! 

Did you know that the average American throws away 25% more trash from Thanksgiving to New Years’? To reduce our holiday waste, we can start by making sustainable choices with our seasonal traditions and habits! So, if you are looking for fun and unique ways to sustainably celebrate the holidays this year, here are our top 9 ways to be eco-friendly this holiday season. 

Eco-friendly Decorations

Newspaper Wrapping Paper

Have you ever considered wrapping your gifts in a newspaper? Not only is it a sustainable way to source paper (because it’s already made), but it can also be considered “upcycled,” AND it looks super cute! You can even ask your neighbors for their newspapers after they’ve finished reading them! 

Plus, it’s much better for the planet to reuse paper that we already have hanging around rather than buying NEW. Sure, you can still buy wrapping paper made from hemp, recycled materials, or fabric. But sometimes, those wrapping options just aren’t in the cards. Enter: newspapers!

If you want some great ideas on how to spruce up your newspaper gift wrapping, definitely check out this excellent wrapping post/guide and achieve that picture-perfect Christmas tree look!

Source a real Christmas Tree

We know this can be harder said than done in some areas of the world, but if you can source a real Christmas tree instead of a fake one, please do so! Artificial Christmas trees have a higher carbon footprint compared to real Christmas trees. 

Doing this can help you avoid toxin exposure from the plastic tree, reduce the supply chain operations, and keep the land forested. Plus, real trees just SMELL better! If you have a fake tree already, don’t beat yourself up about it - just use what you have and avoid buying more in the future!

If you want to learn more about why real Christmas trees are the better option, read this fantastic post by The Nature Conservancy

Eco-friendly Holiday Home Decorations

This section could be a post in and of itself! But to keep it brief, here are a few fun ways to decorate your home for the holidays - eco-friendly style. 

  • Use colored LED lights to make it festive! LED lights save energy and last longer. Kind of a no brainer, right?
  • Use soy-based candles, diffusers, or incense instead of regular wax candles. Did you know that wax candles contain paraffin wax, which is made from petroleum, a byproduct of crude oil in the production of gasoline? Yuck!
  • Use ornaments made from paper, scrap ribbon, twigs, salt dough, or cans instead of plastic! You could also use sentimental or heirloom items around the house as ornaments to make your Christmas tree extra special this year.
  • Create your own natural wreath! It can be made from things already inside your house or sourced from nature outside your home. Be creative here!

Holiday Gift Ideas

Donate to a charity in their name

We all have those friends, siblings, or parents that are extremely hard to buy for when giving them gifts, right? Instead of wasting your time, energy, and the limited environmental resources getting them a present they may or may not like, donate to a charity in their name!

Bonus points for matching your giftee to a charity they will connect with on a personal level (like donating to the WWF for your wildlife lover BFF or MD Anderson's Cancer Research Center for your aunt who beat breast cancer last year). 

Upcycle from your local thrift store

If you think your friends or family won’t mind a thrift store buy (let’s be honest, those places can be treasure-troves!), head there for your holiday gifts and get your creative juices flowing! 

You could buy a thrifted hat and sew on your Dad’s favorite National Park Badge, or you could get some funky socks and make sock puppets for your niece. You might find a uniquely vintage blouse for your mom or coworker. The options are potentially endless!

Shop Local

We all have those people in our lives - you know the ones that think it’s “cute” that we make sustainable choices to save the planet or turn up their noses at anything “previously owned.” Well, you can still buy them “new” gifts. Just make them eco-friendly! 

Buy organic cotton sheets instead of regular cotton for your roommate. Buy your boyfriend a reusable water bottle for his gym bag. Get your travel-loving friend toothpaste tablets (so they can pack them in their carry on). Buy your mom reusable silicone food storage bags. These are technically “new” products, but they are still sustainable and eco-friendly!

Fun tip: For your cooking-lover friends or family - get them a subscription to their nearest CSA!

Gift experiences instead of things

Sometimes it’s easier to just save on materials and give the gift of experience. Because, in all honesty, who doesn’t just go out, buy whatever they want, whenever they want, nowadays? #consumerculture

For all those people who have everything they need, here are some fun experience gifts to give instead. 

  • Online Learning Platform Membership (like Udemy, Masterclass, Teachable, etc.)
  • Online Fitness class pass (yoga, pilates, HIIT, Zumba)
  • Airbnb Experience (for your travel friends)
  • Online Indoor Design Experience (Decorist)
  • Life Coaching Call
  • A Stay-cation (an Airbnb in their own town!)
  • Online Music class
  • Eco-friendly Subscription Boxes (like Pure Earth Pets!)

Remember, gifting experiences can also help your local businesses!

Other Eco-friendly Holiday Ideas

Emails instead of postcards

Instead of sending out hundreds of pieces of paper that will only end up in the trash (or stashed in a drawer for the next 20 years), send an email postcard instead! 

There are tons of great postcard templates on Canva, Adobe, and even on some email marketing platforms like Mailchimp! Just download the design, upload them into your inbox, and press send! Did we mention that you’ll save on stamps, envelopes, and postage, too? 

If you want to send a physical postcard, we have an awesome post dedicated to making your Christmas cards more sustainable!

Reduce food waste

The end-of-year holidays always seem to be served with a side of casserole, right? Delicious holiday meals are some of the best parts of the season, in our opinion. But have you ever thought about how much food waste goes on around the holidays? Not to mention every other time of year. 

This year, try to avoid making an overabundance of food for the table. Make only what you can eat or have a Plan B for your leftovers. Either commit to eating them over the next couple of days or bring your leftovers to a local shelter. Waste not want not!

Hopefully, these tips will help you have a less wasteful and more memorable eco-friendly holiday season! If you need an eco-friendly shopping gift guide, check out this post!

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