15 Things You Can Do to Make Your Holiday Celebration More Sustainable

by Greg Stewart

Have you been wondering how you could be more eco-friendly around the holidays? Follow this guide to giving gifts and celebrating sustainably!

  1. When buying wrapping paper, look for the PCF (Processed Chlorine free) label. Also consider using newspapers, old posters, or other colorful paper you already have around the house. Or go through your closet and pick a scarf, a shirt, or a piece of linen to wrap your gifts this year.

  2. Soy candles are a preferable option compared to paraffin candles which are made from petroleum!

  3. Instead of giving material gifts, consider gifting classes in hobbies, sports, or other activities your friends and family might enjoy.

  4. Do you have a person in your family who’s crazy for chlorophyll? Build them a terrarium!

  5. DIT it! Make these simple five-ingredient lotion bars to keep skin soft throughout the winter!

  6. This super cute cat planter which reuses a 2-gallon soda bottle is a fun craft to do with friends or family. Houseplants improve air quality and you'll be reducing the amount of plastic in landfills.

  7. Make your best friend a chemical-free essential oil diffuser so their house will smell better! It's easy, cheap, and thoughtful!

  8. Do you have a culinary artist in the family? How about making them a flavor infused sea salt?

  9. Know someone who just has to keep up with current events? Why not surprise them with an online subscription to a newspaper, magazine, or streaming service? No paper, no oil, no waste, and all the fun of reading or watching their favorite content.

  10. Want to give back this holiday season? Consider donating to an environmental cause!

  11. You can easily offset the carbon footprint of your energy hog brother’s house or vehicle for a reasonable price!

  12. You can help cut energy usage by getting your grandma more energy efficient lightbulbs!

  13. Cut down the food miles for your holiday feast by joining a CSA, or sign up your veggie savvy brother-in-law!

  14. If you'll be celebrating Christmas, purchase a real tree as opposed to a fake tree because fake trees are made from PVC plastic which is full of toxic chemicals, and they often contain lead. When buying a living tree, do your best to buy from a sustainable local farmer.

  15. Did you know you can recycle your tree? The Department of Sanitation will collect and compost clean Christmas trees left at the curb from Tuesday, January 3rd to Saturday, January 14th. The trees are chipped, mixed with leaves, and recycled into rich compost for NYC’s parks, institutions, and community gardens. Remove all lights, ornaments, stands, and plastic bags from your tree; trees that still have these items attached will be collected as garbage. Did you know that on Long Island they use Christmas trees to restore dunes that are blown away by storms?

So stop buying bad gag gifts that people throw away after a week of letting them sit in the corner. Cut out the waste. Reuse, recycle, reduce. Do everything you can this holiday season to be a little greener.