The holidays are filled with traditions.—The smell of hot cocoa during a family movie night. Silly but oh-so-cozy pajamas. Getting way too into the annual family touch football game.
The holidays can also be a time filled with excess. Yes, there is such a thing as too many Christmas cookies. But that’s not the kind of excess we mean. We’re talkin’ about trash. Post holidays, Christmas trees, wrapping paper, and, believe it or not, bad gifts all pile up, creating a lot of trash.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are three eco-friendly Christmas traditions to start this year. Don’t worry! You can still wear your holiday pajamas. :)
Eco-Friendly Wrapping Traditions
Don’t let the name “paper” fool you. Traditional wrapping paper contains all kinds of non-paper stuff, like chemical dyes, laminate, and glitter. In other words, it’s more plastic than paper. And the worst part is, wrapping “paper” is only used once before it turns into trash!
This year, eco-fy the presents you present with new eco-friendly gift wrapping traditions. Swap traditional wrapping paper for newsprint. You’d be surprised how beautiful newsprint can look! Incorporate color by using the Funnies or Comic pages.
Brown kraft paper can also be a gift-wrapping showstopper. Let the kids design their own wrapping paper! Use paint, crayons, markers, rubber stamps to decorate. Whatever you’ve got around the house. Tell them to get creative by personalizing the patterns and messages for each gift they wrap.
We know what you’re thinking. What’s a present without ribbons and bows?! We have eco-swaps for all that crap too. Here are just a few ideas for eco-friendly holiday gift toppers:
- Eco-friendly string or yarn
- Candy canes
- Pine cones
- Pine needles
- Herbs like lavender, rosemary, or sage
- Cinnamon sticks
- Christmas cookies
- Dried Fruit
- Get creative!
Eco-Friendly Gift Traditions
We get them every year, gifts that go straight to the “regifting” pile. Novelty items that are funny once, but does anyone actually want to wear a shirt that says, “I love cats”? And let’s be honest, these excess items are no friend to the environment.
This holiday, start a new tradition by giving gifts that serve a purpose. Gifts that will make their lives easier while keeping our planet cleaner. Gifts that they will use again and again. Gifts that will make them smile every time they do.
Another eco-friendly gift idea is “experience gifts” instead of physical presents. Spending quality time with someone you love. What’s more valuable than that? Answer: Nothing. Experience gifts may be the best gifts of all.
Start the tradition of giving experience gifts this year by making some (Covid-friendly) plans. Have a Cousin’s Movie Night (or Nights!). The parents in the fam can pick the movies. Then all the kids can watch the movies “together.” Or start a book club with one or some friends. Read the book on your own time, but come together to talk about what you think and how you’ve been.
Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree Traditions
There are so many reasons to have a real tree. For one thing, real trees make the entire house smell fresh and crisp like mountain air. However, a real tree can be more wasteful if you are not able to chop, chip, or compost the tree after it fulfills it’s Christmas destiny. (Does anybody else still love Friends?)
If you plan to send your tree to the landfill in January, consider a new, more eco-friendly tradition.
In some communities, you can rent a real tree! When you’re done with the tree, just give it back. The company will see to it that the tree is upcycled for good. Check your local area to find if there are any Christmas tree rental services near you.
Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy holiday season!