Holidays are full of good cheer, eggnog, celebrations, and delectable treats. And it’s a time of giving. Although the best gifts can be quality time with loved ones, material goods tend to predominate the present world. Christmas is the perfect time to embrace sustainability and think more globally. There are so many great local artisans to buy thoughtful gifts from with the resurgence of the local movement. Considering experience gifts rather than consumer goods is also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. So this holiday season, try to tweak your traditions to be just a touch more environmentally friendly. If we all did, we would make a huge impact.
So first things first, the gift itself. As I mentioned, consider giving experiences rather than an object. I’ve personally given gift cards for massages, date nights at a fancy restaurant, concert tickets, and the like. For parents of young children, consider treating them to a night or weekend of free babysitting, so they can have a moment to rekindle their love. Also think about paying for a month of classes for someone to try out a new hobby. For instance, a pottery class, a month membership at a climbing gym, or a cake decorating class. If you prefer a traditional gift, try to search out local movers and shakers. A hand knitted blanket, handmade jewelry, or thrown pottery can make a thoughtful and unique gift for a loved one.
Once you have procured said gift, think twice before grabbing that glossy gift wrap. Most packages are stuffed with simple brown paper that can be reused to wrap presents. Newspaper is another great and free gift wrap that is a sustainable option. I use paper tape which is compostable along with some twine or reused ribbon to elevate the appearance. This year, I found some old stamps and envelopes that would be thrown away otherwise and fashioned them into gift décor. The classic branch of evergreen or twig of berries is another fabulous idea. I haven’t bought traditional wrapping paper, boxes, bags, or ribbon in over four years and still have plenty of materials left over at the end of each holiday season. So much of today’s packaging is unnecessary, so just take a step back and evaluate one way you could minimize your holiday waste.
Remember, Christmas is all about the spirit of giving, not the latest marketing craze. Give Mother Earth a present this year instead, a slight nod in her direction to thank her for her endless bounty. Happy Holidays!