As wonderful as the holiday season is, with the reunions of families, giving at an annual high, and peoples’ spirits are up, it also creates a problem.
The holiday season encourages a lot of practices that are unmindful and unsustainable.
There is a huge increase in consumerism, which leads to more waste, more money being spent, and more things we don’t need.
Does that mean that I think we shouldn’t give gifts or celebrate with others? Of course not.
But there is definitely room for improvement. You can have a fun holiday season and still be a conscious consumer.
Here are a few tips on how:
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Buy local/small biz
As someone who cares for the environment and people, buying local is one of my favorite practices.
Let me show you why:
- Buying from local stores creates less travel waste – products don’t have to be shipped from far distances to either the store or you, saving harmful gas emissions
- Your money is going to a fair wage. Most large corporations, especially if they outsource their work overseas, greatly underpay their workers or make them work in unhealthy conditions. By taking your purchasing power somewhere else, you can show that you don’t support these practices. (For more info on this, see the Fashion Revolution site!)
- Your money is staying in your community. Purchasing local helps put dollars into the community you live in and helps it grow as a whole. By doing this, you are helping support someone’s dream, someone’s college tuition, someone’s medical bills, etc. You help improve the lives of people near you.
See? So worth it. Sometimes local goods can be more expensive, but I believe they are worth it. Plus, the higher price will help you evaluate how much you really want or need the item you are buying.
When you do shop for people, try to buy them a more sustainable version of what they are asking for, or buy them an ethically made gift!
There are so many places to buy goods made ethically and with sustainable resources that are beautiful and perfect for whoever you are buying for.
A great resource for finding products like this is over at SustainablyChic!
Natalie has great gift guides and overall brand recommendations for a ton of different conscious alternatives! She rocks.
Or, looking at the #ethicallymade, #ethicallysourced or
Like most everyone else, I love the cute wrapping papers that come out around holiday times. However, most of them aren’t recyclable, and so have no choice but to be thrown into landfills.
So, choose to wrap differently! There are a ton of ways you can wrap presents that are better than buying new paper.
Below are some great examples! Using brown paper or other simple papers is better because they are able to be recycled, and they look cute, too!
Or even give your gift in a bag or jar that the recipient can reuse!
Check out this Pinterest page for inspiration!
Make Your Own Cards
Making your own cards out of materials you likely already own not only saves you money, but declutters your home as well.
Plus, I have never heard of anyone who doesn’t enjoy the effort put into a handmade card. You can customize it and make it as simple or as elaborate as you’d like!
Buy Experiences instead of things
I’m obsessed with concerts, so this is kind of a default for me, but I sometimes forget about this for other people.
Giving tickets to a game or show, or a pass to a class, is a great way to get someone something they wouldn’t normally buy for themselves, and doesn’t add any clutter to their house or create direct product waste.
You can create valuable experiences and enrich someone’s life without an object.
Great places to check for tickets and events is Groupon, Ticketmaster, Stubhub, and LivingSocial because they tend to have local offers!
Plus, if you sign up with Ebates*, you can get cash back on your experiences at all these places! I love this because concert tickets unfortunately don’t have coupons, and the more money I save, the more I can go to! *wink*
Clean out your clutter
The holiday season is a great time to evaluate what brings you value in your life. This is especially relevant when it comes to items.
You’ll likely get lots of new items, so take the time to look at the things you already own and see what you don’t need anymore. Your gifts may replace old things, or make you realize that certain things just aren’t necessary.
You can save yourself the clutter by trying to get rid of one item in your house for each gift you get.
Recycle, regift, donate, sell – it doesn’t matter how you do it. Ridding your living space of unwanted and valueless items will help bring clarity to your life and mind.
Donating gets a category of its own – because it’s often forgotten.
Sometimes we think if we can’t throw something away or sell something, we have no other options. I know I do this.
There are many groups and organizations that will gladly take your gently loved items, and this is a great way to keep good products out of the garbage.
Donating and thrifting benefits everyone involved and it a great way to declutter.
Any other tips I should add?
Happiest of holidays to you all!