10 tips for a sustainable holiday season, from creative wrapping to e-cards to natural decor
The holidays are a busy time, and it’s easy to get caught up in the commercialization of the season. But there are options to make your holidays more sustainable and, in some cases, a little more heartfelt. This winter season, consider shaking things up and making some positive changes to your holiday habits, and give the Earth a holiday gift, too.
1. Get creative when it comes to giftwrap. Use old newspapers, brown paper bags, old maps, kids’ artwork and anything else you have lying around. This eliminates the need for buying new giftwrap each year, too.
2. Buy a live potted Christmas tree and plant it in your yard after the holidays are over. This will keep your tree out of the landfill and add a green decoration to your home for years to come. And then you also have the joy of watching these trees grow year after year, keeping those holiday memories alive.
3. Still putting off sending those holiday cards? Why not try an e-card this year. You can still send a fun and personalized card that will get to your family and friends before the holiday season is over.
4. Instead of buying material gifts, make a charitable contribution to a meaningful organization in your loved one’s name. Everyone will have warm, fuzzy feelings that last long after the presents have been opened, and you and your recipient will have made a difference in the world.
5. In some cases, consider gifting experiences instead of material possessions. For the children in your life, this could be a punch card to the rec center, movie tickets or even a gift certificate to go bowling. For older kids or adults, what about tickets to an upcoming concert or sporting event? The fun will last all year long.
6. Use natural materials for decor, instead of buying store-bought decorations. Pine cones or river stones look beautiful in a glass dish and live plants always add a little greenery to the indoors. Try rosemary for a festive-looking plant that you can also use in your cooking.
7. Create a healthy new tradition this year. We are surrounded by beautiful public lands. Why not start a new holiday custom by taking a hike with family and/or friends? Get out on your own, or join Walking Mountains Science Center for a free daily snowshoe tour.
8. Holiday travel stressing you out? Consider planning a stay-cation to celebrate the holidays with local friends and loved ones. Travel to a backcountry hut or ski the slopes, rather than flying or driving long distances. Cutting down on travel reduces your carbon footprint, along with your stress level.
9. Give your electric bill a break and turn your holiday lights off while the sun is up.
10. Start the New Year off right: Go through the items in your closets and drawers and find the things you no longer use. Donate these items to a local charity such as the Salvation Army or the Thrifty Shoppe. Who knows? Maybe they will be just the right gifts for someone else.
But most importantly, enjoy the holiday season, no matter how you celebrate. Warm wishes for a festive and fun holiday season from Walking Mountains Science Center.
Rachel Zacher and Kaitlyn Merriman are program coordinators at Walking Mountains Science Center. They are excited for a green gift-giving season.