The holiday season seems to be full of over-abundance. Often families get stressed out from the over all the baking, decorations, shopping, and gifts. To-do lists get longer, gifts get bigger, and the trash grows. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, American household waste increases 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – equating to 1 millions tons each year. Much of the waste over Christmas has to do with the gifts – acquiring more stuff, and the packaging and wrapping that goes with it. Here are some tips for green gift giving that may help reduce your waste over the holidays.
Tips for Reducing Waste with Green Gift Giving
Shop with meaning. When you go shopping, think about not only who you are buying for, but what you are buying and who you are buying it from. When you can buy local, handmade, or upcycled gifts you are helping your community. Also focus on quality over quantity, and look for products with minimal packaging that will fill up the trash.
Give the experience. Instead of material gifts, consider taking a trip or buying an “experience” gift like tickets to the theatre or a concert. Swim or dance lessons, gym memberships or other activities that the family can experience together will be memorable.
Make homemade food gifts. You could use a reusable jar to make brownies or cookies, for instance. Other homemade gifts could include candles, soaps, or crafts.
Give your time, not money. Give the gift of your special talents or service. This could be babysitting, baking, house cleaning, shoveling the snow, or other items on the honey-do list that will be appreciated when they are done.
Consider re-gifting or used gifts. You may have an item in your home that has special meaning, or have something you know another person would really love. Young children could really enjoy hand-me-down toys or clothes, too. For some families, re-gifting is perfectly acceptable.
Utilize re-usable gift wrapping. Whether it is a purchased gift bag or box that can be used year after year, or a homemade wrapping paper or gift tags from recyclables, there are numerous options for wrapping your gift that are both beautiful and minimize waste. Remember to save what you can after the gifts are opened, for the following year. Holiday cards can also be reused for gift tags, ornaments, or into new cards!
Use email to share your holiday greetings. Instead of printed cards that will eventually get thrown away, try sending your holiday wishes digitally. If you want to get really creative, you could even create a video!