- Re-use paper, boxes, and bags from prior years.
- If there's a gift tag, don't fill it in – that way people can re-gift the box/container/bag
- Wrap gifts in grocery sacks (and decorate them), comics from the newspaper, or other paper you already have available.
- Buy next year's gifts/wrappings during this year's clearance sales.
- Use cloth bags for gift giving (cotton, burlap, etc.).
- Buy from local vendors, crafts artists, grocers, farmer's markets (in lieu of Amazon, big box stores, and other giant corporations) (Think about supply chain issues too! The more locally you shop, the less of a problem you'll have with this!)
- Avoid buying tissue paper; but if you already have some/receive some, use it/re-use it (tissue paper can't be recycled).
- Make cards instead of buying them.
- Consider sending e-cards.
- Hand-make your gifts instead of buying them.
- If you are going out to buy gifts, carefully plan so you make as few driving trips as possible, thereby reducing your carbon footprint, or carpool with friends.
- Donate to a cause in someone's name; let this be your gift to that special person.
- Recycle cardboard cores from wrapping paper.
- Give gifts that you already have around – tell the story about how you got that item as part of your gift to your special someone.
- As a gift to your community, do a family service project together.
- As a gift to the environment, consider spending one evening a week in candlelight with all of the electric lights turned off.
- When purchasing holiday lights (or other lights) be sure they are LEDs.
- Use rechargeable batteries or use devices that can be recharged.
- Instead of cutting down a tree for the holidays, decorate a potted tree.
- Instead of buying plastic, inflatable lawn decorations, create a scene with sleds, snow people, etc.
- Make a wreath out of found objects from nature.
- Instead of separate visits to all of your friends, host an open house and have a used/homemade gift exchange.
- Decorate your home only with found objects from nature.
- Recycle wrapping paper if it can't be used again.
- Avoid buying things with glitter. Glitters are made from micro-plastics and are ingested and detrimental to fish, birds and other wildlife.
- Instead of a plastic gift card, make your own gift card accompanied by cash.
- If you already have plastic cards, reload them instead of throwing them away and getting a new one.
- Give an experience instead of a physical gift.
Did you know that the Charter for Compassion has an Education Institute offering a variety of courses? Click here to learn about upcoming courses. There are two courses related to the environment in 2022 – one in June and another in September. We're sure you'll be excited about the others as well!
Thought of more ways to be environmentally conscious during the holidays?
Add them in the comments below!
This entry was written by Kate Trnka and Jennifer Wilhoit, Co-Leads of the Environment Sector of the Charter for Compassion.