Little Holiday Changes to Make Life Easier on You and the Planet

By Christel Schultz

The fallen leaves barely had a chance to settle. Thanksgiving came and went. We ate too much. Some of us braved Black Friday. The rest of us browsed through cyberspace for gifts. The season is in full swing. Shoppers, and traffic, are everywhere.

Did you know that an estimated 25% more trash is generated in the United States during the holiday season (Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day) each year? Approaching the holidays differently could significantly reduce the waste produced and energy consumed. What are some changes we could make this holiday?

Check out these suggestions:

  • Consider a potted plant. The beautiful Norfolk Island pine makes an adorable Christmas tree. This petit tree is perfect for small spaces, and if you have pets or toddlers. It’s attractive, lightweight, and definitely outlives the fleeting holiday season. Also an easy-care option for those traveling.
  • Gather craft and décor materials outside. Tree branches, drift wood, pine cones, rocks, and sea shells are among the items collected during our adventures. Use your imagination or search online for inspiration! Create unique gifts for friends and family.
  • Remember to “reuse” when wrapping this season! Stash gift bags, tissue paper, boxes, and even fabric remnants, old shirts or pillow cases. Bags with decorative tissue paper are my go-to wrap solution. However, a simple box, or package wrapped in colorful fabric, looks quite festive tied only with a ribbon. Open gifts delicately to preserve wrapping materials. Get excess paper to a recycling bin. A little attention can go a long way when taking conservation measures.
  • Consider reusable and renewable resources when making purchases. Get reusable bamboo utensils or drink containers, even a bamboo keyboard and mouse. There are so many things made from bamboo! Stainless steel straws and sturdy drink containers, that actually keep things hot or cold, are great thoughts for a number of people! Personalize this popular drink container for no additional charge – I did!
  • Give experiences instead of things. A special date with a parent provides one-on-one time for kiddos. A gift card for a favorite activity creates anticipation for the event. Plan a day to enjoy the experience with your loved one! Take off on a weekend escape! Explore a national forest or state park! If you’re unsure, the old fashioned “personalized” coupon book is always a hit! Consider what people could really use when gifting. Being thoughtful does not go unnoticed.
  • Explore special holiday gifts or packages available through your favorite organization. Adopt an animal with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Choose from socks, stuffed animals, and more in the gift catalog. Get a water bottle, bracelet, towels or clothing made with recycled material from sources that give back like 4Ocean, Sand Cloud, and One Ocean Designs.
  • Take the “experience” gift to a new level. Organize a group outdoor activity. Enjoy a nature encounter in the woods, on the shore, or in the water. Join Ocean Ramsey (One Ocean Design) and One Ocean Diving for a unique opportunity to explore sea life in the waters of Hawaii. Tag along with the Sierra Club for a service adventure. Research local activities or travel abroad with a purpose through one of the many International Volunteer Headquarters opportunities.
  • Whatever you do, make memories with people you care about. Try to approach one thing about the holidays differently. Make a tiny conservation effort of your choice. Enjoy the season for all that it celebrates! Blessings to you and yours…
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