Nothing compares to the holiday season, right? Twinkling lights, the pleasing smell of a Christmas tree, family and friends getting together, baking holiday cookies, and the joy of giving.
Although, this magical time of the year doesn’t just bring about waves of happiness and love, it can also mean lots of unsustainability.
But don’t let that bring you down! With the right tips and tricks up your holiday sleeve, you can have a fun and eco-friendly season this year. Here are our top ways to stay sustainable and merry!
Buy a Real Christmas Tree
First things first: make sure you purchase and pick out a real Christmas tree!
Unless you already have a fake Christmas tree (in which case, you need to use it for at least 10 years to outweigh the environmental benefits of buying a real tree), there are far more positives of sticking with a good old real tree.
Not only are real trees a renewable resource, 100% biodegradable, and easily recycled, you’re reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in a landfill by not buying a fake tree.
Opt for Sustainable Wrapping Paper
Gift giving is an important holiday tradition for many families and it’s wonderful to give to those you love. But let’s be real: it generates a lot of waste! In fact, just in the United States, it’s estimated that 4 million tons of waste is generated from gift wrap and shopping bags each and every year. Did someone say whoa?
By opting for more sustainable gift wrap (and reusable bags!), you can easily have a better, eco-friendly Christmas! To find ideas on what to use for wrapping, check out this article.
There’s no question that thousands of animals and animal by-products are consumed around the holiday season… which can severely damage the environment. As one of the leading causes of climate change, reducing or eliminating your intake of animal products this Christmas can make a huge difference in your environmental footprint.
Here are a few of our best tips for going plant-based to have a more sustainable holiday season:
- Bring on the veggies! By simply putting more veggies in a dish, you’re already reducing the amount of animal products that can be put in. Not to mention, it’s much healthier!
- Serve up Hippie Snacks. When having friends and family over this holiday season, why not bring out some delicious plant-based snacks from an eco-friendly brand (yes, we’re talking about ourselves!)? See our vegan snacks here.
- Bulk it up. Buying grains and nuts — like almonds, cashews, rice, oats, and beans — in bulk is an easy way to be more sustainable. Not to mention, making grains the base of your meals adds a healthy, nutritious boost you don’t get from animal products! Check out our parent company, Left Coast Naturals, to discover organic products we carry in bulk.
Compost Your Christmas Tree
Did you know you can compost your holiday tree? If you have the right resources and tools, this is a great way to further take advantage of opting for a real tree! Great for putting nutrients back into the earth, Christmas trees can be repurposed into mulch and other materials that benefit the environment. Cool, right?
Recycling and composting options will vary depending on where you live. Do your research, there’s likely one or two companies that’ll take your tree off your hands!
Switch to LED Lights
Year after year, LED lights continue to improve, becoming more efficient, durable, and long-lasting, making them the most eco-friendly choice to light your house up with!
Here are some LED light facts to help you make the switch:
- They use up to 75% less energy than your everyday incandescent bulb (they won’t send your electricity bill sky high).
- Last 25X longer (so you don’t have to purchase new ones every other year, effectively reducing your waste!).
- LED lights don’t get hot, making them a much safer choice. They won’t burn your Christmas tree or little hands!
Participate in Carbon Offset Programs
If you’re flying to a destination this year for the holiday season, consider participating in a carbon offset program!
When you fly, planes release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The goal of carbon offset programs is to balance out those emissions through projects that help capture or prevent more emissions.
So, to have a more eco-friendly holiday season, give some holiday cheer to a carbon offset program of your choice! Or even better, give to one as a gift to someone else who focuses on sustainable living.
We hope these tips help you be a little bit more eco-friendly this Christmas season! To get some more great ideas on how to be more sustainable in every aspect of your life, check out our blog.
Sophie Anderson is a vegan and sustainable travel blogger over at The Wanderful Me. Most days, you can find her in a weird corner of the world, munching on mouthwatering vegan food, or simply cooking away in the kitchen.