How to be more eco-friendly this Holiday season

We all know 2020 has been a roller coaster of a year. For me, it’s the little things in life that I look forward to that help me get through the day. Right now, I’m dreaming of sipping spiked nog, sitting by the fire while watching Christmas Vacation.

With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to share some tips you can do to help eliminate waste during the holidays. Did you know that Americans produce about 25% more waste during the holiday season? That’s insane. Please read our suggestions below, so together, we can help to make a change.

Wrapping Gifts: I like to joke that I was a crow in my previous life, as I love anything with sparkle in it. Which means I’m a total sucker for that shimmery wrapping paper, but with all the dyes and other additives, it makes it unrecyclable. You can purchase wrapping paper that is made out of recycled material, then make sure to recycle the paper after each gift is opened. 

Before the unwrapping mayhem begins, you can set-up stations in your living room to help sort through it all. Designate a bag for wrapping paper that can be recycled, a spot for gift bags that can be used for next year, and save bows to repurpose for another time. Bonus Points: Avoid bows/ribbons this year, as they can not be recycled. 

Aha Moment: You can use reusable tote bags as part of the gift and wrapping paper, baskets, or anything else the recipient could reuse.

sustainable wrapping paper

Christmas Trees: There’s a misconception out there that cutting down your own tree is counterproductive to being sustainable. Christmas trees are grown on farms, just like any other crop. When a tree is cut down, the farm usually plants 3-4 new trees to replace it! When the season is over, you can break down your tree for your compost, or check with your local recycling carrier to see if they offer curb-side tree pickup. 

What about a fake tree you ask? Those are made out of plastic, and are more often than not made in China. So think about the packaging, shipping the trees over here, and most importantly the fumes from the plastic that will emit into the air you breathe once you set it up. Also, they can not be recycled and end up in landfills after they start to look sad from a couple years of use.  

Aha Moment: Buy a live tree and plant it in your yard once the holiday is over. 

 cut your own Christmas tree

Buy Local: Covid has been hard on all of us, especially for small businesses. Instead of shopping at the mall, head to your local shops to find your treasures. You’re not only supporting the little guy, you’re supporting local artists as well. You’ll also be eliminating all the extra packaging you would normally get from Amazon.

Here is a link to American Express' SHOP SMALL map to find some small business in your area! 

shop local

LED Lights: If you’re replacing lights this year, either for the holiday season or just for general use, please choose LED. Not only do they last longer, they use way less energy and will save you money on your electricity bill. LED lights also don’t put off any heat so you don’t have to worry about your tree getting too hot. I like to use smart plugs and have my holiday lights on a timer so I don’t forget to unplug them before I hit the hay. 

LED Christmas lights

No doubt this holiday season will look and feel different for all of us. Whether you’re lighting the menorah, putting cookies out for Santa, or celebrating Festivus for the rest of us, let’s all do our part to keep our planet in mind. 

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