Green holiday checklist

December 12, 2023

While indulging in the excesses of the holidays can be irresistible, our celebrations don’t have to create waste! During this joyous and reflective time of year, we want to focus on the season’s true meaning — spending time with loved ones, feeling gratitude, and preparing for the new year.

With that focus in mind, here’s a “green holiday” checklist to help keep your season sustainable.

How many can you check off?

  • Wrap gifts in repurposed paper or reusable containers. Make it stylish by using fabric, newspaper, old maps, tote bags, glass jars, tins, or baskets.
  • Repurpose gift wrap. Save any gift wrap, bows, ribbons, boxes, and bags from gifts you receive and reuse them next year.
  • Instead of buying new gifts, consider thrift shopping for unique items, sharing plant cuttings, or making homemade gifts like soap, baked goods, granola, roasted nuts, sauces, or spice blends.
  • Support local businesses. Consider gifting local specialties for a personalized touch and to reduce the environmental impacts of shipping.
  • Not all gifts have to be tangible — you can give experiences or subscriptions or make donations instead of material gifts.
  • Replace regular greeting cards with plantable or recycled paper cards.
  • Save electricity by reducing or skipping light displays, using LED lights, and setting a timer to showcase lights during limited evening hours.
  • Don’t choose a flocked Christmas tree. Flocking is typically made of non-organic substances, so most compost programs do not accept flocked trees to avoid contaminating green waste.
  • Don’t let food go to waste. Offer extra sweets and treats to family, friends, and neighbors, or freeze your holiday leftovers to enjoy after the holiday season.
  • When you host the big meal, keep fats, oils, and grease out of your drains. Nothing puts a damper on the holidays like dealing with a sewer backup at home!

Feel free to add more “green” ideas to the checklist. Read Tips for Greener Giving, Holiday hacks to surpress stress and maximize merriment, and Green Your Holiday Wrapping to get you started.

Like Santa, you can “make a list” and “check it twice!” so your holiday is the greenest one yet.

Image credit: Natalia SERDYUK | iStock | Getty Images Plus