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A Sustainable Christmas is possible

3 min read

A Sustainable Christmas is possible
Christmas is just around the corner and we are all pretty excited about spending some quality time with our families. It is also "the most wonderful time of the year", but unless it's a Green Christmas you're planning, it's also the most wasteful and consumer-driven period of the year. But what if we all made some little changes to try and keep Mother Earth happy?

Whether this is a religious time for you or not, the Christmas celebration should have meaning. If we make an effort to celebrate that, the holiday will remain eco-friendly. Just one simple thing we should all do to have a Green Christmas is to make it one we enjoy with our loved ones — an emotional celebration rather than a commercial one. Christmas should speak to you in the way it did as a child; full of magic, wonder, and connection.

What is the eco-footprint of Christmas?

With approximately $75 billion spent on Christmas gifts, 1.9 billion cards sent, and 20.8 million Christmas trees cut in the U.S. alone, the impact of this one holiday is quite important. While worldwide information is hard to come by, the Australian Conservation Foundation reports a minimum of 2,285,000 tonnes of greenhouse pollution contributed to Christmas in Australia alone!

Below are just a few things to get you started, but the more you experiment and reevaluate your choices this holiday season, the more Green Christmas ideas will come to you.

  • Choose Sustainable Materials: Organic cotton, Seacell, bamboo… these are all natural, renewable materials. They add texture and character to gifts.
  • Decorations: Use recycled goodies. Instead of using paper napkins, tablecloths, plates, and cutlery, go for fabric ones that can be washed and used again. Decorate the table with flowers or pine cones. If you have old decorations that you won’t reuse, donate them to a secondhand shop or online.
  • Candles: Paraffin candles are made from petroleum residue and are no good for your health or for the environment. Candles made from soy, beeswax or natural vegetable-based wax are more eco-friendly because they biodegrade and are smoke-free.
  • Presents: Make your own recycled gift wrap. Did you know that some Christmas wrapping papers aren’t recyclable? Keep bags of trash out of the landfill by creating your own simple gift wrap from recycled shopping bags or brown kraft paper. Make your packaging unique by making your own stamps from potatoes and other veggies.
  • Eco-friendly Christmas tree: Cutting down the tops of beautiful fir trees just so that they can dwell in our living rooms for a month, seems somewhat unnecessary, not to mention, not all of us can even fit or afford a traditional Christmas tree. Check out our sustainable Christmas tree alternatives for this season. And if you’re looking for the most sustainable, eco-friendly Christmas tree option, grow your own in a pot for the holidays! Just pick one up from your local nursery, and plant it outside once the snow melts.
  • Christmas Tree Decorations: There are countless ways to decorate your tree using recycled and upcycled items you’ll find lying around your home and garage.
  • Keep it local: Christmas is the ideal time to buy locally. Visit your local farmers' market with a list of the food needs you have for Christmas. The food will be fresher and the shorter transportation distance from field to fork will significantly cut down on carbon emissions.
  • Advent Calendar: Make your own with wood or fabric that you can re-use every year.
  • Christmas lights: Christmas lights create a nice atmosphere, but they also use a lot of energy. Here are two ways to keep the energy use down: use only LED lights, and use a timer so that the lights are only lit when it is dark.
  • Remember what this season brings: It’s not about accumulating more. It’s about spending time with your loved ones. Enjoying the traditions and the memories made. Drop the hustle and bustle, slow down, and enjoy the moment. That in and of itself will help you have a more sustainable Christmas.

    Image credits: Pinterest