Like many people, there's a good chance you've put many hours planning your Christmas celebration this year. From gifts, wrapping, decorations, and cleaning, there's a lot of thought that goes into it. However, if you are like me, do you ever feel concerned about the impact this holiday has on our planet?
It's something that has been weighing on my mind the past few years, so I've been looking for ways to reduce waste while still celebrating the season. Here are some things I've tried, as well as some new ideas I'll be looking at this year!
While giving and receiving are fun gestures, so much of Christmas is now wrapped up (pun intended!) in the number of gifts, whether appreciated or not. Rather than bankrupting yourself just for the sake of giving, consider some of these options:
Buy secondhand. Who said that a gift had to be brand new? Many of the items on our lists can be purchased used. Visit thrift stores or search online buy and sell ads and, you might be surprised at what you can find!
Just buy less. Stop worrying about how many gifts are under the tree. Your loved ones are likely to remember time spent together rather than every single present they received. Focus on just buying a few things they've asked for or start a Secret Santa in your family group. Some people also prefer practical gifts such as a gas card or paying a bill. I once asked my family members to pitch in on a CAA membership! And, don't forget to support small and local businesses.
One of the biggest wastes during the holiday season is wrapping paper! Many aren't recyclable and, the ones that are, tend to be used once. And the tape gets tossed right into the garbage! Instead of wrapping your gifts, try one of these ideas instead:
Reuse gift bags and tissue paper. My ever frugal mum has been doing this for years. Every time she receives a gift bag or box, she saves it along with tissue paper. Not only is she saving money, but she always has them on hand!
Make it a part of the gift. There are so many ways to do this! Wrap your presents in a towel, scarf, box, tote bag or any other item you can think of! You could even make a whole theme around it.
Similar to wrapping paper, many of the items we use to decorate our homes aren't recyclable. If you don't want to add waste to our landfills, you can try some of these ideas!:
Decorate with nature. Think pinecones, dried citrus, branches or anything abundant in your area. They look nicer than the artificial stuff anyway!
Rethink your Christmas tree. Artificial Christmas trees can be used more than once, but they end up in the landfill once their time is up! If you must have artificial, donate it if you are planning on getting a different a different size or look. And if you do get a real one, put your tree back into nature. If you have the means, you can use it in your compost. Another option is to return to a forest or keep it in your backyard for animals to use.
Between visitors popping in and guests staying overnight, housework usually needs to be done more often. That being said, there's no need to go overboard with cleaning products, especially harmful ones. Instead, here are some eco-friendly options:
Use a multipurpose household cleaner. You don't need to have a different product for every room. Focus on high traffic areas, such as the kitchen and bathroom, and use an eco-friendly multipurpose cleaner that won't negatively affect your guests!
Be aware of allergies. Some people are sensitive to scents, so candles and air fresheners might not be the best option. Plus, many are harmful to us! If you want to have some festive scents in your home, check with your visitors beforehand and stick to options like essential oils. Use a neutral, hypoallergenic laundry detergent so your guests can get a good night's rest without sneezing!
Hopefully, these ideas have inspired you to have a more eco-friendly holiday season! I'd love to hear some more suggestions on how to make my Christmas better for the environment, so please share your thoughts in the comments below!
Happy Holidays from Charlie's Soap Canada!
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