How to have a sustainable (and fun!) festive break….
During the busy festive season, there are so many things to keep track of that being mindful of how we treat the planet can often take the back seat. However, we know that climate change waits for no one (not even Santa!).
So here are some curiously creative ways you can incorporate sustainability practices into your festive traditions from our guest writer, Brian!
- Packaged with Love (not waste…)!
During the holidays, there’s so much excitement to give our loved ones things they’ll love that it’s easy to forget to gift sustainably…
With gift-giving comes wrapping paper, tissue paper, and bags. When wrapping gifts, be sure to use recyclable materials. You can reuse gift bags that are laying around your house and repurpose them using stickers. Another option is to wrap in newspaper or paper bags and decorate them with markers to add color. If you do choose to buy festive wrapping paper, look for a “made with recycled materials” label.
It’s important to know what you can recycle, reuse, or throw away, especially with so much consumption during the holiday season. If it’s been a while since you looked up your area’s recycling rules, take a look and familiarize yourself with them. You can also encourage the people you live with, your friends, and family members to do the same. This domino effect can help everyone to significantly cut down their waste over the period.
2. Be Food Conscious
Wherever you are celebrating Christmas or not, the house and your stomach are bound to be full over the holiday period. Cooking and baking your favorite traditional dishes brings everyone together and is a meaningful gift to your family and friends.
Believe it or not, being food conscious is one of the easiest ways to celebrate the holidays sustainably. While grocery shopping, look for locally grown and sourced produce (and meat if you eat it!). If a product is grown and purchased locally, there’s less transportation involved. This results in fewer carbon dioxide emissions, lowering your carbon footprint. Plus, you’ll be investing back into your community and supporting local businesses – winner winner!
Since you’ll be around so many people, be conscious of everyone’s dietary restrictions. Whether they’re vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or have any other allergies or preferences, knowing who eats what is helpful when creating your holiday meal plan.
As well as saving you multiple trips to the grocery store, it will reduce food waste, and prevent you from spending money on food that no one will eat. Embrace the challenge to – you’ll also be able to try new recipes and make substitutions while cooking to save as well. Remember, everyone has different dietary needs for a reason, so be mindful and respectful of their situations (they’ll appreciate it!).
3. Connect With Nature
Depending on where you live, you might associate the holiday season with sun, snow, or somewhere in between. Regardless of the climate, it’s important to spend time outdoors and connect with your environment. Some people enjoy sports, like skiing, ice skating, or snowshoeing. Others enjoy walks or hikes that get them out of the house and into nature.
Getting outside can be an opportunity to immerse yourself and see new places. For young people in particular, this can be very exciting. Kids read about the science behind snowflakes, hibernation, and the freezing of lakes in school, but you can expand on what they learn in the classroom by taking them out into nature. Doing this is a fun and interactive way to reinforce key concepts your child discusses at school. Identifying plants, setting up a bird feeder, and even ice fishing can all be fun adventures for you and your child. This can easily turn into a new family tradition and encourage the young people in your life to value and care for their environment.
Whatever you do – Before you embark on your adventure, don’t forget to check trail conditions and weather warnings so you and your group are well prepared.
Go forth and have a happy, eco-friendly holidays…
We hope you decide to incorporate these easy activities into your holiday schedule. They not only serve as reminders to be more sustainable but hopefully will become a habit in your daily life. Knowing you’re celebrating the holidays mindfully will make them even more enjoyable.
- Not sure whether to buy a real or fake Christmas Tree? Read about which is more sustainable
- Check out our list of sustainable gifts for the person in your life who has everything
- If you are planning a vacation in the New Year, be mindful of how to travel sustainably
Brian Thomas is a contributor to Enlightened Digital. He enjoys reading and researching tech and business. When he’s not looking into the latest trends, you can find him out cycling.