Your ultimate guide to sustainable holidays.
It’s the middle of December and you either already have all the gifts purchased, you are waiting for them to arrive, or you are currently searching through all the blogs trying to find gift ideas for friends and family.
Everyone is talking about sustainable fashion, sustainable products, and it makes sense that people globally care more about the planet, about their impact on the planet. But what about Christmas? The holiday season is in full swing (which means I’m already Christmas shopping!) but there are ways to make this time of the year as green and sustainable as possible. There are a few simple things we can do to make the holidays happier, healthier, and more earth-friendly.
Am I the only one who is frustrated with wrapping paper? Am I the only one who CANNOT follow a step-by-step YouTube video showing how to nicely pack gifts? Am I the only one who simply doesn’t like buying wrapping paper? I hope not. If you are a member of the same club, welcome. I have a solution for you: furoshiki.
Furoshiki are the traditional Japanese wrapping cloths used to wrap presents. You can use furoshiki to wrap basically anything: book, bottle, candles, and any oddly shaped object that a regular wrapping paper will not make look good. You can use any kind of fabric, but the most popular are silk, cotton, nylon, and canvas. This year, my daughter is getting a lot of presents for Christmas, and a few of them have odd shapes (e.g., the highly requested indoor trampoline). Instead of buying a lot of wrapping paper, I am going to re-use the silks I got for her some time ago from Sarah’s Silks and wrap the gifts as best as I can. The same holds for the rest of the family: I will furoshiki (is this even a verb?) all the gifts with the note explaining how to re-use the wraps.
If cloth wraps are not your thing, you can always grab old maps or newspapers and use these instead.
SUSTAINABLE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
Straight from Japan, we are moving to Denmark to experience some hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh”). For those who slept on the latest hygge trend: hygge is a Danish word that means “to enjoy simple life’s pleasures”. The main idea of hygge is creating a peaceful space, very often minimalist-like. Hygge transfers to basically all areas of Danish life, that includes Christmas décor. When you search Hygge Christmas décor or Scandinavian Christmas décor, you will see pictures of beautifully decorated trees and homes with a lot of natural accents: greenery combined with dried orange garland, tables with linen napkins tied with jute string, candles, and paper Christmas tree decorations.
You can even bake gingerbread cookies and hang them on the tree if you want to add a little bit of sweet accent.
SHRED THOSE BOXES
Ok, so all the gifts finally arrived, and you are left with a lot of boxes. Of course, you can recycle them, but if you need free packing filler for those fragile mugs, shred those boxes! All the shreds are a fantastic way of securing gifts. I learned this trick when ordering new inventory for my store: I was always left with so many cardboards that it was literally draining to flatten them. Instead, I got a good shredder and I repurpose the shreds to pack your orders!
Last year I was crazy about sourdough starters (who wasn’t? During pandemic everyone was baking bread) and I had an idea to share my love for baking by gifting the starters to family members that love baking. The homemade gifts always show that you spent that extra time thinking about someone and curating a beautiful basket filled with home-baked cookies and homemade ornaments.
GIFT THE EXPERIENCE
If you don’t have time for preparing a handmade gift, feel free to add the experience gift to your list. Gift certificates to museums, local businesses, or restaurants are always a hit because of the excitement it builds. Plus, you will be supporting local businesses, which is extremely important after all the lockdowns.
SEND OUT DIGITAL CHRISTMAS CARDS
With all the possibilities the Internet gives us, it is easy as 1,2,3 to make your own Christmas card using for example canva.com. If you are a traditionalist and prefer sending a physical card, you can always order the printouts, but…can I be honest with you? I usually throw the Christmas cards out a few days after the holidays. Instead of adding waste to landfills, get your creativity on and create beautiful cards!
While gathering your typical holiday foods, such as turkey, ham, and pumpkin pie, try to support local farmers that grow sustainable meat and produce. You would be surprised to find out how many amazing businesses you are surrounded with that not only sell gifts but also tasty food from local farms Try to find a locally farmed turkey or ham to have on your Christmas table. After all, a local, sustainably farmed roast or ham is much better for the environment than factory farm meat grown 1,000 miles away. . Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, enjoy meat-eating or your diet is indifferent, take advantage of the slow food movement during the holiday season and buy what’s in season.
The holidays are almost here and this year I want to make sure it is a special and sustainable experience. I’ve laid out some tips above that should help anyone add a bit of special sustainability to their holiday season this year. Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas. It has been a great year and I hope you have an awesome holiday! TY 4 stopping by. Feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it.
Now go forward with a grateful heart and stomach, my friends.