All is not lost, however, because there are many ways we can participate in more environmentally friendly and climate-conscious holidays; we can still have a wonderful time but we can participate with a lighter footprint.
I’ve been keeping a list of ideas to share, and this month seems like the perfect month to do that.
Gifting: Buy local, purchase experiences, and instead of big boxes covered in non-recyclable wrapping paper, buy gift cards! There are so many opportunities locally, including:
Movies and Theaters: Three of my favorites are Mt. Baker Theatre, Pickford Film Center, the Bellingham Theater Guild, and Firehouse Arts & Events Center. How wonderful to gift someone tickets to an upcoming show, concert, play, etc.
Buy Local: There are so many ways to support local businesses this season. From weekend food and craft fairs, to spending time visiting our downtown businesses; instead of ordering online take the time to find terrific gifts – while you support our local businesses.
Thrifty is as Thrifty Does: You can find amazing items at our local second-hand shops! Clothes (sometimes even designer labels and never-worn items), home décor, kitchen items … and a whole lot more. Here’s a link to find out more about our local shops.
Virtual Cards vs Paper Cards: Along with all of the wrapping paper, we waste a lot of other paper on holiday gift cards and mailing envelopes. If you haven’t tried virtual cards, yet, you should! Here are three to look at – Paperless Post, Green Envelope, and Blue Mountain Cards.
Wrapping Gifts: Did you know that it takes YEARS to break down shiny foil wrapping paper? This year, look carefully at what you buy and choose wrapping paper that can be recycled. Our grandparents had it right all along … save paper and ribbons from previous years to reuse over and over. If paper gets worn, just cut out the best part for smaller packages. Remember the trick of using newsprint and comics as wrapping paper – they’re both a fun way to use recyclable wrapping.
Holiday Food: According to a recent study, the U.S. sees a 21% increase in food waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. We can do better – can’t we!? Plan ahead, buy only what you need and will eat, and freeze leftovers for January. Here’s a cool resource – it’s a ‘guesstimator’ on how much food you need for the number of people you’re serving. If you still have too many leftovers, package them up and deliver them to neighbors who may not have family nearby, or people living on our streets. Give your mood a boost knowing you’ve helped feed someone in need.
There are so many resources for making your holiday season more earth-friendly – I encourage you to take some time to think about what you can do. Here are a few more: