Small changes in traditions and holiday habits can collectively make a significant positive impact on the environment during the holiday season.
Shopping during the holiday season is a significant economic driver, but it also leads to considerable consumption and waste. In the United States, holiday retail sales often exceed $1 trillion, with significant spikes around Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the weeks leading up to Christmas. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), in recent years, holiday retail sales have seen steady growth, sometimes increasing by 3-4% compared to the previous year.
Amidst the joy of traditions, gift-giving, shared meals, and cherished family moments, it's crucial to cultivate mindfulness and consciousness in our approach. Embracing the wisdom of older generations by revisiting holiday customs from yesteryears can be a meaningful starting point.
Recognizing that small adjustments in our holiday practices can yield significant environmental benefits is key. Even seemingly minor shifts in habits, from choosing sustainable gifts to adopting meaningful decorations, collectively contribute to a positive impact not just during the holidays but also for our and our planet's future.
Here are 10 Ways to have a waste-free and green holiday season
Mindful Gift Giving: Consider gifts with minimal/no packaging, made from sustainable materials, or opt for experiences rather than physical items. DIY gifts or donations to charities in someone's name are thoughtful alternatives. Consider giving presents that are of use. In our family, we ask and give wishlists so we know the gifts are useful. Charitable Giving can be a great way of gifting. Support local charities or environmental organizations during the holidays. Donate clothes, toys, or household items to those in need.
Travel Wisely: If possible, choose eco-friendly modes of transportation or carpool when visiting family or friends. Offset your carbon footprint by contributing to environmental projects.
Mindful Decorations: Use natural, reusable, or upcycled decorations. Avoid plastic or single-use items. Consider using energy-efficient LED lights.
Green Hosting: If hosting gatherings use reusable dishes, cutlery, and cloth napkins instead of disposable ones. Opt for organic and locally sourced foods. And avoid waste. Plan meals thoughtfully to minimize food waste. Buy locally sourced, organic produce and try to compost food scraps.
Conscious Party Outfits: Instead of buying new clothes that you will not wear again after that New Year party or event, consider buying clothing that you will use for more than just a party, renting outfits, or swapping clothes with friends or family. This reduces the demand for new clothing items. Also, you might want to consider thrift shopping I have come across such beautiful party wear at Thrift shops like Retold, Thrift for Good or Luxury Closet.
Small changes in habits can collectively make a significant positive impact on the environment during the holiday season and beyond! And what a wonderful time of the year to bring about new resolutions, and traditions and give a meaningful gift to yourself and your family - The gift of a cleaner, greener planet for our children.