My Dear Readers,
It’s the most wonderful time of the year again!
The cold front that we experienced on the east coast was a signal to the upcoming arrival of the holiday season. I'm going to come clean and say that while I LOVE winter activities, I actually prefer entertaining and staying close to home even more. The magic of the holiday season is filled with family gatherings, festive decorations and sometimes feasts of epic proportions. I think it's important to also acknowledge the environmental impact of this joyous season. If weather isn't enough to let you know that the holidays are rapidly en route, a quick trip to any store reveals it it abundance. Here's my pressing question:
If we're trying our best to consume foods that keep our bodies strong, and use organically made products, how do we help create a sustainable holiday season in 2023?
Did you know that Americans generate approximately 25% more waste during the holidays than at any other time of the year? It's easy to do that calculation - even if you're math challenged! I think about excess food (often served on disposable table wear). If we're trying to be eco-conscious consumers, there are steps we can take to make our celebrations more sustainable. I'd like to share some ideas that we've come up with to help navigate our holidays.
Creating a Sustainable Holiday Season
Where is the best place to start? Décor!
Have you ever considered decorations, made from sustainable materials? Instead of using paper decorations, choose organic cotton, linen, hemp, Tencel, or recycled fabrics for clothing or home textiles. The newest trend in our community? Upcycling!
Are you open to the idea of shared or non-material gifts like a dinner at a restaurant, museum passes, or subscriptions to consumable products like coffee or chocolates? These thoughtful alternatives contribute to memorable moments rather than accumulating more possessions. When choosing gifts for children, look for toys made of FSC-certified wood or recycled plastic, and always avoid virgin plastic in favor of natural or recycled materials.
When it comes to gifts for the adults in your life, explore unique, sustainable - and durable gift ideas for every taste, from minimalist options to thoughtful presents for him and her. When in doubt, consider asking your loved ones directly about their Christmas wishes. This ensures your gift will be cherished, avoiding unnecessary waste and disappointment.
Hostesses are the "Mostest"
During our holiday travels, we visit and stay at family and friends' homes, and since the launch of Whole Naturals Castile Soap, we've started creating custom soap combinations with essential oil blends, and other handmade gifts, such as candles, knitted items, or even homemade treats. It's the personal touch that makes the connection, not necessarily the gift that's inside. If you have the time, explore Fairtrade, ethically-made gifts from sustainable brands that prioritize both people and the planet (like Whole Naturals Castile Soap).
Hot Potato Packaging
It doesn't come as a surprise that traditional wrapping paper contributes significantly to holiday waste. It's easy to suggest reusing wrapping paper, newspapers and gift bags from previous years, but what about trying:
Tie with string, instead of tape
Reusing delivery boxes
Ditching the bows and decorate with foliage
Pieces of fabric
And my favorite - Plantable Cards for a unique and environmentally friendly touch.
Food, Glorious Food
The holiday season is certainly a time for feasting! Whether we're celebrating with family or friends, we opt for pot-lucks. It takes the pressure off of one person, but it also makes it fun to share the leftovers. We also share in chores of washing plates, and even laundering our cloth napkins. Our new year's resolution? We're going to try composting. Next spring, our plan is to get a composter, I'll keep you posted on how we will implement this in our home.
From mindful gift-giving to eco-friendly decorations and conscious travel choices, small actions add up to create a more sustainable holiday season. While it may not be possible to implement every tip, doing our best and making conscious choices contribute to a more environmentally friendly celebration. So, savor the magic of the season and enjoy a healthful and blessed season with your loved ones!
And by the way....If you've come across companies that support sustainable gift giving ideas, please share them with me!