The holiday season brings to mind reunions with those we love and celebrating with gifts and feasts. The holidays also come with the potential for waste, but a little attention to sustainability at this time of year can also have a significant impact. Here are some tips to help make the holiday season a bit greener simply by viewing a few traditions through a sustainability lens.

  1. Reduce, reuse, and recycle gift wrapping
    1. Using existing items like scarves, newspapers, or all those bags gathered from shopping makes for a lower-carbon gift and can also be more unique. Try the Japanese art of Furoshiki or wrapping gifts in reusable fabric.  Here’s a guide:
  2. Feast consciously
    1. Buy locally or foods sourced from nearby. It isn’t always people who travel for the holidays; the transportation of food across continents and the world is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
    2. Plan meals for the number of guests. This can be challenging, so be prepared for leftovers with sustainable take-home packaging or focus on saving remaining foods by freezing them for later.
  3. Light up with less energy
    1. Where possible, use or switch to LED lights for decorating and general lighting.
  4. Give generously and greenly
    1. Look for gifts in independent shops, second-hand or antique stores, or consider giving an experience.
  5. Avoid traditional stocking stuffers
    1. Traditionally, the realm of cheap, plastic toys and stockings can be stuffed with literally anything. Try eco-friendly or more valuable items such as socks, soaps, hair scrunchies, candies, pencils, reusable straws or fruit.


The environmental challenges we face are overwhelming.  As individuals, we each can have an impact. Every small act and sustainable choice contributes to the big changes that are necessary to move us in a better direction.

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