Written by Taylor Patterson, ERS
For most people, the holidays are the busiest time of year between traveling, cooking, decorating, shopping, and other stressors adding to our already crazy everyday lives! This holiday, consider ways you can celebrate and enjoy the magic of the season without leaving an excessive footprint on the existing climate crisis. Here are some ways you can embrace the holiday spirit in sustainable style!
1. Buy a real Christmas tree.
Cutting down or buying a real Christmas tree is not the same as cutting down any ordinary tree – Christmas trees are grown intentionally on farms, meaning they’re foresting will not have a significant impact on their surrounding habitat. Fake trees, however, are generally made from plastic and produced in foreign factories that often release toxins into the air on a regular basis. For these reasons, it is more sustainable to get a real tree each year instead of purchasing a fake one. When picking out your tree, consider buying from farms that use low pesticides. Once the holidays are over, you can compost your tree and give it back to the earth!
2. Consider efficient Christmas lights.
Christmas lights bring much holiday spirit and cheer to homes everywhere and create a cozy, welcoming atmosphere for family, friends, and admirers alike. However, you can reduce the amount of energy needed to keep your house shining bright. First, use LED lights opposed to standard light strands. One study found that LEDs have a significantly longer lifespan and they use up to 70% less energy than traditional bulb lighting. Additionally, hook your lights up to a timer so they are only on during appropriate time frames and not guzzling up electricity during the late night and early morning hours long after you’ve put yourself to bed.
3. Hop on the trend of reusable gift wrapping.
It’s time to get creative! Instead of tearing through countless rolls of wrapping paper that will end up in the trash can (most decorative paper cannot be recycled), reuse newspapers, comic strips, magazines, or old posters for some unique wrapping designs! Another approach is to include a reusable bag to serve as both a gift and the wrapping – the sustainable gift that keeps on giving!
4. Support green businesses.
Many companies give back to the Earth in some way with each purchase, whether it’s through raising money to protect wildlife, making a donation for a certain percentage of each sale, or planting a tree for every item sold. These gifts are extra special because not only will the recipient love what you picked out for them, but they can feel good knowing their gift helped make our world better.
These are just a few of the countless ways you can have an environmentally conscious holiday celebration! For more ideas, check out some of these sources: