Holiday Tips: Save Money & Save the Environment

The holidays are joyous occasions full of love, laughter and light, but the holiday season is also a very wasteful time of year. I’ve always noticed how much we waste during the holidays, as I watch the uneaten food we throw away and the wrapping paper we collect in giant trash bags.

Until now, however, I wasn’t quite sure just how much we actually waste each year. According to CNN, in the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, American households generate 25% more waste. This waste includes everything from food and unwanted gifts, to wrapping paper and holiday decor.

With this in mind, I wanted to find out how I can do my part to be a little more environmentally conscious and mindful this holiday season. Here are six things we can do to have a green Christmas.

Ditch the Wrapping Paper

Sure, this might spoil the surprise on Christmas morning, but with the rate that we excitedly tear through wrapping paper, we can do without it to help the environment and save a little bit of money.

If you absolutely must use wrapping paper, why not encourage family and friends to unwrap their gifts nicely, then fold the wrapping paper and save it to use again or for another occasion?

You can wrap birthday gifts with Santa Claus wrapping paper, after all, it’s the thought that counts, right?

Buy Eco-Friendly Gifts

Still need some gift ideas? If thrift stores aren’t your thing, you can still do your part to be a conscious consumer this holiday season. You can make your own presents or find green gifts online.

You can also consider gifting experiences instead of material possessions.

You can find discounted deals on local activities and getaways on sites like Groupon and LivingSocial or let them check out places all year with a Craft Notes Distillery/Brewery guide.

Buy Used or Vintage Gifts

TV commercials, online ads, and store catalogs make it very hard to dodge the tempting, shiny new gifts of the season, but there are several sound reasons to buy used gifts instead.

Not only can you save money by dodging overpriced toys, gadgets, and gizmos, you can support a good cause if you buy from places like Goodwill and The Salvation Army.

Check out local thrift stores or antique stores in your area for vintage, one-of- a-kind gifts. You can find gems like old records, rare books, and classic movies. With a little digging, you can find some truly unique gifts. Reduce your carbon footprint and score bonus points for originality.

Also, make sure to check out the clothes section. According to this survey, next to travel, clothes are the most requested gift item this year. You never know what kind of vintage threads you can find!

Note: Consider donating any gifts you receive that you don’t plan to use. Even if you don’t throw these items away, they may be more useful to someone else.

Only Buy the Amount of Food You Need

It may be hard to imagine the holidays without a festive, family feast, but the reality is we make more food than we actually need. Last year, 4.2 million Christmas dinners were wasted across the United Kingdom, and we can only assume these numbers are comparable in the United States.

We can start buy buying less food to reduce waste. If we still end up with extra food, why not donate it to a local homeless shelter or organization where people can use the food more than we can? Plus, less food means less cooking, which equals a decrease in the amount of gas and electricity we use. It’s a small victory for everyone.

 

Get Creative With Christmas Decor

Nothing says Christmas like a beautifully decorated tree, but these symbols of holiday cheer end up in the garbage after just a few weeks.

Make your own Christmas tree or consider buying an artificial tree that you can store and reuse each year.

You don’t need to stop with the tree, get creative and make some DIY decor with environmental-friendly or recycled materials.

Save Energy

Besides cooking less, there are other simple ways to reduce the amount of energy you use during the holidays. If you decorate your house, put your lights on a timer or just unplug or turn them off when you go to sleep or are away from home for an extended period of time.

Also, consider using candles instead of lights in your house. Candles make excellent decorations and scented candles will fill your home with holiday cheer.


 

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy holiday season! What are your tips to have a more earth-friendly, green holiday? Share them with us in the comments below!

 

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