Christmas is all about gift giving, but it doesn’t have to come at a high cost – especially on our environment. We've all been guilty of getting caught up in the chaos of the holidays, but with effort and imagination, we can reduce our environmental impact this time of year. After all, conscious consumption is always in.
Here are five tips to ensure you have your most spectacular sustainable holiday yet:
1. Choose gifts that give back
Amplify your giving power with gifts from sustainably minded companies that not only deliver a great product, but also give back to communities in need. When you give the gift of UMA, you join us in creating jobs for local men and women in India and support our ingrained Ayurvedic belief that everything we take from the world must be given back in equal amounts. Other like-minded companies include Sudara, which employs women who have escaped the sex trade in India, and Love41, which contributes all proceeds to victims of the Rwandan genocide.
2. Use recyclable wrapping paper
Or don’t use wrapping paper at all! Magazines, maps, and reusable gift bags make great alternatives and can be fancied up with a bit of creativity. If you’re still committed to the tradition, try going recycled instead. Companies like Wrappily, Green Field Paper Company, and Fish Lips offer eco-friendly alternatives without sacrificing style.
3. Decorate the all-natural way
Rather than reaching for plastic decorations, which can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade, head out to the backyard for real rustic décor to add some holiday cheer. Pinecones, flowers, and fallen leaves make for beautiful wreaths and centerpieces, while seasonal fruits and festive paper can be repurposed with some imagination.
4. Make your get-togethers waste-free
Avoid using disposable dishes and utensils. It may require a little extra work, but at least you can sleep better knowing your waste won’t end up in a landfill. If the thought of extra dishes makes your stress levels skyrocket, these eco-friendly disposable options are just what you need.
5. Go local for your holiday feast
Farmer’s markets and co-ops are your one-stop shop for organic, seasonal food. Not only are you doing yourself a favor by eating foods that are better for your body, but you’re also supporting your local community and heavily reducing the carbon footprint it takes to bring that food to your table. Extra points for your own bringing reusable bags.
As you can see, going green doesn't have to be hard. Get the whole family involved, and you'll see how fun it can actually be! And the best part of all? What you do today will allow for future generations to enjoy their own celebrations for years to come.