Oh, Christmas! T’is the season for family and fun but also for overspending and creating waste and over-consuming. Here are my 5 tips for an eco-friendly Christmas.
Now that I have children, I see things differently on Christmas day. Especially when I’m stuck stuffing spent wrapping paper in garbage bags, opening boxes of presents (mainly plastic toys) with all those elastic bands and twist ties and wondering where in the world are we going to put all these new things?
If you feel like me, here are a few things to consider this Christmas season if you want to reduce waste and avoid the pressure of the excess in commercialism this season. Make it an eco-friendly Christmas.
Understand why we spend at Christmas
I love this article on The Psychology of Spending and How to Avoid Pressure to Spend. To summarise, this article talks about how some people spend money to feel in control. Others spend money because they are feeling sad or are in a negative mood and feel they are deserving of some retail therapy. Others spend because they are competitive and want to keep up with the Jones.
Knowing why we overspend can be enlightening in our mental state when we do go shopping and might control buying impulsively. The article also gives some great tips on how to avoid spending too much.
Here are my tips on creating an eco-friendlier Christmas. It’s not about making it a perfectly zero-waste experience, it’s just about considering your impact on the planet, and making changes accordingly.
Give Experiences instead of physical gifts
There is a lot less waste when you give “experiences” as presents. Usually, you can stuff a note with tickets in a card, or add a gift card in a stocking. Once the experience is over, you don’t have to figure out what to do with it, as you do with toys and clothes.
Ideas for experiences can include:
- tickets to an amusement park
- movie passes
- gift card for an indoor playground (for kids)
- tickets for an indoor waterpark
- concert tickets
- tickets for a sports event (we love hockey in our family)
- a family trip
My husband and I are planning a big trip this year and that’s everyone’s birthday, and Christmas presents this year and throughout 2020.
Upcycle your Christmas wrapping
You can find ways to reduce your waste from Christmas wrappings and bows. I’ve dedicated a whole post on Eco-friendly ways to wrapping Christmas gifts. Here you’ll find some videos and tutorials on making your own upcycled bows or gift bags.
Stick to the basics
Kids love Christmas and anticipate Santa’s presents for weeks. ! I get it, I have two little boys of my own. And they’d be disappointed if Santa didn’t give them presents. But remember the article above, gift-giving is not about competing with the Jones. You shouldn’t feel the need to go overboard.
Here is something I’ve read about from one of the Facebook Mommy Groups I belong to. Many parents are adopting this gift-giving guideline, and I love it. When buying for family, especially kids, consider buying:
Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.
By sticking to these 4 types of gifts, you can be certain you won’t go overboard with the spending and wasting.
Zero Waste Gift and Stocking Ideas
(Please note that there are affiliate links in this post, meaning if you do purchase something from clicking through these links, I might get a small compensation for the referral, at no cost to you.)
If you are going to buy presents or stocking stuffers, consider buying some zero waste products such as:
- bamboo toothbrushes
- beeswax wraps (or make them as gifts, instructions found here)
- Organic loose leaf tea
- zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars
Another great source for eco-friendly presents is local hand-made markets where you can support local small businesses.
Christmas is one of our favourite times of the year in my household. Even though we are making a few tweaks in our lifestyle to reduce our impact this season, we will still enjoy our holiday the same as we do every year. How about you, do you have any great tips to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
If you are looking for ways to making your Christmas more eco-friendly, you might be interested in Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas, Gift Ideas For The Environmentally Friendly People In Your Life or 10 Gorgeous & Sustainable Holiday Greeting E-Cards