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Staying Green During the Holiday Season

The holiday season resonates with phrases like "peace on Earth" and "Joy to the World" - but did you know it can create an eco-disaster for the planet? Whether you're celebrating holidays or winter birthdays, here are some tips for reducing waste this season and in doing so, giving a gift to our planet. Remember, little changes can make a big difference!

  • While shopping, use reusable bags to carry all your goods

Gift Wrapping alternatives

  • Reusable gift cloth (this practice has been around in Japan for centuries - they're called furoshiki wraps)

  • Cloth bags

  • Reusable gift boxes (they're great for decoration or card storage too!)

  • Kraft paper (organic, recyclable, biodegradable)

  • New but recycled wrapping paper (I've seen it at Target for $4)

  • Use jute rope or some kind of craft rope instead of opting for ribbon and tape. Skipping tape means the paper will be in good condition to be reused

  • Always recycle paper!

Gift Tags

  • Reuse and cut holiday cards to fashion a festive tag

  • Kraft paper

  • Plantable seed paper tags (available from small businesses on Etsy)

Holiday Cards

  • The paperless option is to send an e-card! Canva has plenty of templates ready to customize.

  • Send 100% recycled greeting cards (a Google search will show you plenty of options)

  • Plantable seed paper cards (these are homemade cards embedded with wildflower or herb seeds. Your recipients won't feel bad for throwing it away because they'll be planting it! (available on Etsy)

Gift Ideas

Skip the packaging and gift experiences such as gift cards or certificates to museums, theaters, restaurants, streaming services, etc.

  • Homemade and handmade gifts are wonderful! Bake, paint, sew, knit, craft!

  • Gift reusable items like cloth napkins, items made of bamboo, etc


  • Ditch the single-use plates/cutlery, but if you must, buy 100% recycled single-use options

  • Mix plates you already have; who says everything has to match?

Further Reading/Works Cited

Blount, Sarah. "'Tis the Season...To Take out the Trash?"

Stanford University. "Frequently Asked Questions: Holiday Waste

Prevention." Stanford University.

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