How To Have An Eco-Friendly Holiday
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How To Have An Eco-Friendly Holiday

All I want for Christmas is be a little bit more sustainable.

How To Have An Eco-Friendly Holiday

With the holiday season already in full swing, it is easy to become wrapped up in the hustle and bustle that December always brings. However, it is important to remember what this season is all about: loving those around you and celebrating the things that truly matter in life.

What better way to do that than to support ethical companies whose missions are to protect people & the planet and to make sustainable swaps that are sure to make your gift-giving more meaningful? Keep reading to see how you can be a part of making the world a greater and greener place, one Christmas gift at a time.

1. Shop local and limit online orders.

Small Business GIF by TattlyGiphy

Shopping locally has always been important but in 2020 it has become vital. Not only does buying from local businesses stimulate the economy, but also puts money into the pockets of individuals instead of already wealthy billion-dollar corporations (who often have questionable ethics). But did you know that shopping locally also benefits the environment?

Whether for gifts or groceries, shopping locally is one of the most important sustainable swaps because food grown locally (or products created locally) did not have to travel!

Therefore, these items have a smaller carbon footprint and less unnecessary packaging. Not only that, but local businesses often provide good deals - now that's what I call a win for everybody.

2. Use recycled wrapping paper, make your own, or ditch it altogether!

Merry Christmas GIF by CBeebies HQGiphy

Not only is this more frugal, but it also saves the environment! Below are links on how to begin your sustainable wrapping paper journey!

  1. Search for recycled wrapping paper on Etsy!
  2. How to make your own!
  3. How to recycle your wrapping paper!

3. If shopping in person is not an option, buy online from independent businesses.

Shopping on Etsy is a great way to easily find a gift you desire while still being ethical! They even have a gift guide here!

4.  Do NOT buy "Fast Fashion"

Hasan Minhaj Netflix GIF by Patriot ActGiphy

If you are buying from local creators and businesses, the odds that you will support a fast-fashion business are a lot slimmer. However, it is easy to accidentally buy cute clothes from stores that are anything but transparent about their manufacturing practices.

"Fast fashion" refers to clothing manufactured quickly and, often, unethically. Stores that sell such clothing are known for their cheap prices and questionable practices. This industry is infamous for the exploitation of workers and alarmingly poor work-conditions they must manufacture in.

Here are some helpful links on companies to avoid and the dangers of buying fast fashion:

  1. Attached here is a list of companies known for their participation in the Fast Fashion Industry.
  2. Read Your Clothes Were Made by Slaves: A Fast Fashion Expose here
  3. Read Forbes' Fast Fashion Is A Disaster For Women And The Environmenthere

5. Send festive Christmas ECards! If you want to remain traditional, send Christmas cards in recycled envelopes.

will ferrell christmas movies GIFGiphy

There are many Ecard options out there! Attached here is a personal favorite.

There are also many options for recycled envelopes. Here is just one! If you want festive options, here are a few that I found:

  1. LittleMouseCompany
  2. BlueThistlePrints
  3. NutsBoltsPaper

6. Ditch the plastic-covered holiday snacks.

glow hot chocolate GIF by Brett EldredgeGiphy

This doesn't mean you can't be festive! There are plenty of sustainable options in your local grocery store! Apple Cider and Eggnog often come in glass containers and Christmas cookies in reusable tins! However, a more helpful way to boost your local economy sustainably is by researching a local bakery or farmer's market! Not only does this help independent business owners, but local bakeries and markets often have less excess and, therefore, less waste.

7. Consider eating less (or no!) meat this holiday season.

healthy the office GIFGiphy

Did you know that most of the Amazon Rainforest's deforestation is contributed to agriculture industries? Or that a cow's methane contributes to an increasingly high percentage of greenhouse gas emissions? Although some exist, ethical agricultural companies are difficult to find. Many of these companies are known to exploit workers and treat animals poorly. For more information:

  1. Read DW's Why we should be worried about methanehere
  2. Watch "Food Inc." on Hulu or Amazon Prime
  3. Read How Does Agriculture Cause Deforestation?here

8. Instead of buying many gifts, buy each of your loved ones one big gift each.

Gift Panda GIFGiphy

For your big gift, buy something both meaningful and lasting. This route tends to be more frugal, exponentially more sustainable, and allows for a gift to show more evidence of thought - isn't that what this season is all about?

9. As always, use reusable grocery bags (and don't throw out your food!)

home alone 90s movies GIFGiphy

With the holidays comes more opportunities to hold celebratory feasts with your loved ones (under 10 people of course!) This means more food and treats but, by default, more food waste and an increase in plastic bag use. Shop local, only buy what you need, and don't forget to bring your reusable grocery & produce bags with you!

10. Consider buying recycled gifts

rihanna recycle GIF by mtvGiphy

You don't even have to do the research! Linked below are great gift and stocking stuffer ideas from varying price ranges:

  1. Nothing like an eclectic coaster to brighten up your living room!
  2. Socks as stocking stuffers: classic. Check out Conscious Step,'s aim to save the planet, one pair of socks at a time.
  3. For the BBQ master (to grill some vegan dishes??)
  4. If you're like me, you can't say no to a new pair of earrings. Find links to sustainable and ethically made jewelry here!
  5. Everyone has a guitar player in the family.
  6. For the classy whisky drinker
  7. For the dreidel players
  8. Reusable Christmas tree options here!
  9. Whether you are a die-hard sports player or an athleisure enthusiast, you must check out Girlfriend Collective: they use plastic water bottles to make cute and very highly esteemed athletic apparel!
  10. There is no shortage of ethical and sustainable clothes for the fashionista

Whether you decide to revamp your entire holiday shopping process or choose to make just one small change, remember that your efforts are important, appreciated, and absolutely necessary. You don't have to be perfect, but in a season that celebrates love and service, consider making these sustainable swaps for both people and the planet.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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