Oh Christmas tree! Oh Christmas tree! How lovely are thy branches…
It’s that time of year! Snow angels, star toppers, tons of cookies, and the magic of giving. With all of the loveliness and joy of the holiday season, there does come lots of waste.
There is 25% more trash produced from Thanksgiving to New Years than any other time of year in America along. This amounts to about 25 million tons of EXTRA garbage in about 6 weeks. (Click here to read more scary holiday waste facts)
So, to combat this, here are 16 tips for you to have a more sustainable, extra green Christmas this year:
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1: Opt for a real tree
You may be able to reuse your artificial tree year after year but they are not recyclable when their time has passed. If you get a real tree, you get the natural piney aroma, the fun of watching it grow just a little bit, and you can get it picked up/take it somewhere to be disposed of properly. Real trees can decompose and turn in to normal soil once you are done with it!
2: Opt for old or plastic free tree decorations
Growing up, we loved to grab the tins of our old, homemade ornaments and redecorate the tree. Try to reuse your ornaments from year to year or buy yarn or wool options from the store. Plastic-free options are much easier to find than you think- glass, yarn, wool, ceramic- keep an eye out!
3: Decorate with natural decor
There is no need to go out and buy tons of decorations for the holiday, go into your backyard and grab some. In my house we use:
- Birch logs
- Dogwood branches
- Fresh greens
- Picnic blankets
It is a fun, inexpensive, and classy way to decorate. You can even have some fun with them and do some DIY projects. Click here for some DIY ideas. The best part is, you can toss them back in the woods or compost once you’re done! This is such an easy way to make your Christmas more sustainable
4: Use LED Christmas lights
These lights will save you money and energy in the long run! They are life savers!! No more bulbs burning out your entire strand or having to buy new lights every year. Plus, they last much longer and use less energy too. Click here for some LED Christmas lights in any color.
5: Ask yourself the following questions when buying a gift for someone:
- Will they use it?
- What’s it made out of?
- Can I make it?
- What’s it wrapped in?
Just try to be conscious of where your gifts come from, their practicality, and what goes into making them. Bonus points for gifts that actually give back after you purchase them!
6: Give the gift of an experience
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather spend time with someone I love doing something fun than receiving a gift. Some people may not agree, but the quality time is really what giving is about. No matter how cliche that is. Try to think of something meaningful to do with someone besides giving a material gift. They are meaningful, thoughtful, and so much fun.
7: Buy quality or quantity
Buy things that will last! Sure, it’s always nice to buy the little things but when you can, try to buy people items that will last longer.
8: DIY Gifts
Making gifts is so much fun and much more meaningful. Whose mom wouldn’t love to open up a homemade gift from their child no matter their age? I know mine might shed a few tears. Here is a list of 20 DIY Christmas Gifts by Southern Living! Try some of them out!
9: Wrap your gifts in reusable wrapping paper
Traditional wrapping paper is not recyclable due to the glossy coating on the printing. Try to opt for some green alternatives such as brown paper bags, newspapers, old maps, cloths/fabric, or they do sell recyclable brown paper wrapping paper rolls. Bonus tip: buy paper tape that is recyclable too! They sell this at hardware stores in the painting or craft section in stores. Or buy them on Amazon here.
Bonus tip: Reuse your ribbon year after year!! But when using new ribbon, go for yarn or twine. These are much more sustainable options.
10: *Easy one* Don’t forget your reusable shopping bags!
The first tip to a greener shopping experience any time of year is reusable shopping bags! It is so easy and cuts down on lots of unneeded plastic!
11: Buy gifts that give back
Here is a list of wonderful, trendy companies that give back when you buy their products! This way you can give to two people at once! Fairtrade companies are great too!
12: Find some recyclable and recycled Christmas cards!
Who doesn’t love a good photo card? It’s a great way to say “hi” and share a little joy with the people closest to you. Try to opt for a paper card – photo or written- they make some that are recyclable and made from recycled materials. Keep your eyes out for these greener Christmas card options! Paper Culture is a great website to order yours on- check them out!
13: Use reusables as much as possible
Real plates, cups, and utensils will go a long way! Try to combat your want for paper plates and plastic forks. I know the dishes may stack up but they either stack up on your counter and go away after you wash them or stack up in the landfill for years. Take the few extra efforts to go reusable, even if it is just on one thing!
14: Have your recycling set out
For all the cans, bottles, and papers that can be recycled! It is much easier to just have the people put it right into the best bin than separating it later! This is an easy way to make your Christmas parties more sustainable- recycle!
15: Have meatless food options
While cooking for mass amounts of people, the food adds up! You don’t need to have all a vegan party- if you do, hats off to you – but try to offer meatless options, either for those trying to cut it out or as a hidden ploy to get people to eat less meat. There are plenty of delicious vegan or meatless entre, sides, or dessert options!
16: Use natural cleaners before and after the party
While cleaning your house frantically before the party and after all the fun was had, try to use a natural cleaner. It eliminates chemicals and toxins from your home and is so simple to make. Here is a tutorial on how to make it!
I hope these tips help you have a greener Christmas this year! If you have any questions or added suggestions, feel free to comment them below! Have a lovely Christmas and holiday season. Below are more resources to give you an easier, more sustainable Christmas.
Christmas Gift Guides:
Other Christmas Articles: