Every year, most of us are wondering how to plan for the holiday season. Some of us might have already started shopping for family and friends months before, while some of us wait until the very last minute. But as 2020 brought us so much conflict and turmoil, we could all try to end the year with something more positive.
I can’t go by the holiday season without writing something about an eco-friendly holiday. By now, you can probably guess that I love helping people and companies that are trying to do more positive things for our planet. Our lives can literally go by in a flash without much thought to it, but when it comes down to what we truly believe and hope for, doing good for our planet will in turn do good for future generations. Add in some sprinkles of hope and joy and we can all try to do better for the planet and for ourselves.
10 WAYS TO GO ECO-FRIENDLY FOR THE HOLIDAYS:
1 – Handmade or homemade gifts.
– I haven’t yet met a single person who hasn’t enjoyed a handmade gift. Whether it’s from a child, a professional artist, or a dear friend, there’s just something unique and personal about a gift that’s made from scratch. To best choose what handmade gift to give, find out what the receiver enjoys. Does she like gardening? Cooking? Or an avid reader? Start off with what the recipient enjoys most and go from there. When making gifts from scratch, choose products and ingredients that are biodegradable and compostable. Ideas for handmade gifts include: soy candles, lotions made from essential oils, bookmarks and cards made from scratch paper or cardboard boxes, organic cookies, and homemade candies placed inside reusable glass jars.
2 – Give the Love of Nature:
Who wouldn’t enjoy a nice long-lasting plant or a well curated gardening kit? Nature gifts are perfect for anyone of any age and gender. To nurture the love of nature for children, get them something that’s easy to start with and require more hands on activities. You can also grow some plants from seeds (but start early, depending on the plant). When the seeds are sprouted and become seedlings, transfer them into clay pots or glass jars, depending on what you’re growing.
– Heirloom seed packets. Gardeners who have some experience will enjoy seeds saved from heirloom plants. To find heirloom seeds, check out local nurseries or purchase online from specialty stores such as seedsavers.org
– Support national parks and arboretums. Our national parks are centuries old and behold such wonder that it’s important to help preserve them. Check out your state parks or national park organizations by purchasing memberships for your recipient. They’ll be able to enjoy these memberships by strolling through majestic trees and enjoying the fresh, clean air around them.
3 – Reuse newspapers, magazines, and catalogues. If you have lots of these hanging around your house, you can reuse them as wrapping paper or crafts. Magazines and newspapers make great wrapping paper, giving them an unusual and unique look to gifts. And because they are made from paper (most ink are safe when decomposed), they can be composted and broken down.
4 – Online classes/lesson. Depending on where you live and the restrictions put in place due to the pandemic, you can offer online classes as gifts. Check out local stores or nationwide companies that offer cooking classes, gardening classes, and even classes on nature. For children, have them try online classes from Outschool (https://outschool.com) and Coding with Kids (https://www.codingwithkids.com). Most of these online classes are supplemental study that inspire and nurture creativity and thinking. Depending on what your recipient enjoys, online classes can go at their own pace and provides the safety of learning in your own home.
5 – Buy eco-friendly products. As we’re trying to move away from unnecessary waste in our world, buying gifts that are made from renewable resources, biodegradable or compostable, and made from post consumer recycled materials are just easy paths to a cleaner planet. You lose nothing in buying eco-friendly and eco-conscious products but your recipient will gain the appreciation that you care about the environment and their health. Great companies to purchase eco-friendly gifts that also give back include: Plaine Products (https://www.plaineproducts.com/ref/Suzan%20C./) and use code: HappyMom to get 20% off total purchase. Honeybunch Naturals (https://www.honeybunchnaturals.com/) and NetZero Company (https://www.netzerocompany.com/?rfsn=4401981.96cae8). Sign up for their newsletter to receive 10% off.
6 – Host a local park or beach cleanup. By giving back to your community, you are also helping your city and your neighbors live in a cleaner environment. Due to the pandemic, be sure to wear masks, gloves, and separate your clean up crew accordingly. Best time to start a clean up is early in the morning when there are less people around. You can also do a neighborhood cleanup with just a few friends or siblings.
7 – Reuse holiday decorations. We all love to buy something new now and then, whether it’s for actual use or as therapy. But we don’t really need to buy new decorations and supplies for the holidays. Save your holiday decorations from previous years and reuse them again. If you must purchase some new ones, make sure to buy sustainably made decorations and reduce your plastic consumption.
8 – Use nature as inspiration. The best ways of helping our environment is to use what we already have in nature. Try decorating with natural flowers, fruit, and plants. Bring nature indoors by using leaves as table decorations, dried fruit as name tags, and flowers as wrapping ribbons. Check out this fun and therapeutic garland made from orange peels.
9 – Donate to charities. In a perfect world, we would all live peacefully and comfortably. But unfortunately not all of us will be able to enjoy a warm meal this holiday season. When we talk about the environment, we’re not only referring to nature. The environment is everything that’s around us, which includes all living beings. If you can set aside money and time to donate this holiday season, check out your local donation centers, food pantries, and animal shelters.
10 – Buy products with less packaging/Reduce waste.
Many products that we buy in stores and online come wrapped in horrible packaging that are usually unrecyclable. If you must purchase online, I encourage you to shop consciously with companies that try to ship with reduced or carbon neutral shipping. Also look for less packaging or packaging in reusable materials such as paper, cloth, or cardboard. Another idea is to buy in bulk at a retail store and then package the gifts yourself. The Japanese culture has been wrapping their gifts in fabric called Furoshiki. The recipient can reuse the fabric, which is usually a fancy cotton material.
– We should all know by now that reducing waste is the first step to cleaning up our planet. This holiday season, think about whether we really need to buy those big ticket items, or expensive gifts that the recipient won’t need or use. Holidays conjure up bright and frivolous spending because we might be trying to show off or overcompensate for something. Think about why we are gifting to others. Is it something they really need? And if they don’t receive it, does it really matter in the long scope of things? If we can all think consciously about what we buy and why we buy them, then perhaps we can all take more steps to cleaning up our planet and helping our world become a much better place.
*Stay tuned on my blog for more eco-friendly gift ideas.
Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.
Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.