Sustainable Holiday Tips

Sustainable Holiday Tips

Holiday shopping can not only hurt the wallet, but the over-consumption of goods that tends to happen during the gift-giving season can also harm the environment. This is especially challenging if your business hosts a gift exchange for the holidays as employees may not know what to give someone, and end up gifting unwanted items. Fortunately, there are ways to limit your impact by creating unconventional gift exchanges, selecting eco-friendly products, or gifting an experience. Here are some tips to help keep your festivities sustainable:

  • Charitable gifts: One great way to have a sustainable holiday is to skip the physical gifts altogether and donate to a charity the recipient cares about in their name. If you plan on hosting a gift exchange, ask employees to list their favorite charities instead and facilitate ways to donate to them. You may also want to consider setting up an Employee Match Program where employees can donate to their favorite charity year-round and donations are matched by the employer. 

  • Homemade Gifts: Consider homemade gifts this year, like baked goods or a knitted scarf. Presents with a homemade touch are more sustainable, especially if you repurpose items that would normally be thrown away. But what if you are not the crafty or cooking type of person? Fortunately, online tutorials for ideas are endless with items that are easy to make with step-by-step instructions. You can search the internet for DIY sustainable gift tutorials, or try browsing the Sustainable Cook’s list of homemade items for some inspiration! 

  • Gift Experiences: Sometimes those hardest to shop for would love to create a memory over receiving something they might not want or even use. Gift a cooking class membership, tickets to a museum, or if they are adventurous, perhaps a gift certificate for bungee jumping or sky diving is more their speed. The options are endless and will be sure to be remembered. Need some inspiration? Check out this article!

  • Eco-friendly gifts: Many stores offer eco-friendly gifts that are either made from reused or recycled materials, and help you live more sustainably. Gifts can include things like upcycled jewelry or clothing, reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, and cutlery sets, or solar powered devices and chargers. There are tons of options available. Here’s a short list of options to help give you some ideas. 

  • Shop local (and green): We all know that shopping local helps keep small businesses in business. It is also the sustainable way to shop as it helps to reduce your carbon footprint, especially if you use alternative transportation and patronize Green Businesses. This year, why not support other Green Businesses in your community, and be sure to let them know you are also a Green Business! Find a Green Business

  • Wrap sustainably: If you do choose to give gifts, save money and the environment by taking the zero waste approach to wrapping them. Utilize old newspapers and paper bags as wrapping paper, styling with twine or plants for added flair. Another option is the ancient Japanese practice of Furoshiki, a way of wrapping gifts with cloth. This is an easy way to customize your gift using material that is likely already around the house, as well as keeping material out of the landfill.  Check out this article on how to utilize household items for zero waste gift wrapping. 

Happy Holidays!