"...what a person accomplishes in life is directly correlated with the people around them." - John Berardi

Friday, December 9, 2016

How we are Reducing Waste for Christmas!

I have seen a few different things lately that got me thinking about efforts we can make to reduce the amount of waste we are contributing during Christmas and other celebrations throughout the year. The older I get, the more of a "tree hugger" I am. I can't deny it and I don't think there is any stopping it either!

The stats I saw recently, were claiming up to a 25% increase in waste during Christmas, which is pretty shocking. We can do better (less) than that. We need to take better care of our planet, so I know I am going to be doing better on my holiday waste from now on. You with me? 

I have never been someone who needs perfectly wrapped gifts, but there are a lot of pretty cools ways to wrap gifts that still look really neat! There are also a lot of gifts that create very little waste at all!

Give Less "Stuff"

I definitely support the idea of giving more experiences for gifts instead of stuff. I have really enjoyed the times that some of my family opted out of giving each other gifts and instead, donated the money we would have spent on presents to a good cause. It always feels good to help others in need. I felt like it also allowed us to focus more on the real joy and meaning of the season, being together. 

Gift Cards

Gift Cards can be a great option for people who will actually use them. Let's be honest, some people won't and in those cases, don't bother. 🙂  But for those who will, this could be a gift card to a restaurant, toy store, Amazon, movie theater, bowling alley, clothing store, some type of class, or to a family fun center. They create very little waste and can be used for having a great time!

Memberships / Season Passes

Another fun option for a gift, would be a yearly membership or season pass to your local zoo, sports team, ski resort, water park, aquarium, or kid museum. I am hoping my kids will be old enough pretty soon to actually enjoy and appreciate something like this! 

Gift of Time

One year we gave the "gift of time" with my in-laws. We drew names between families and came up with something we could do together. This ranged from sporting events to family train "dates" to dinner together. I think this is a really cool idea, that could be executed in a lot of different ways. We never know how much time we have or with the people we love, so let's make the most of it!

Use Things that can be Reused or Recycled

  • Paper Bags - I have wrapped a lot of gifts in Trader Joe's brown bags recently. The bags they have during the holidays are pretty festive and my toddlers really don't care at all how their presents are wrapped (if at all)!
  • Newspaper -  I have always thought that gifts wrapped in the Sunday Funnies looked great. Easy, convenient, "funny," and recyclable. 
  • Fabric - Find some fabric on clearance, so it is super cheap and wrap a gift up in it. I have seen a ton of cute gifts wrapped this way!
  • Bags or containers that go with the gift - For example, you could find a cool bowl to put snacks and things in for a "movie night" gift. You could also find a neat scarf or bandana to bundle a gift up in, 2 gifts in one! I think the cookie mixes and things in a jar also make a cute gift. You even give a free recipe with that! Just look on Pinterest, there only about 500 billion ideas on there! 
  • Reusable Grocery Bags - Check out this fun reusable grocery bag from Sprouts! Anyone who knows the song it is referring to, will smile for sure when they get a gift inside that bag! I also made some reusable produce bags this year to put gifts in (top pic). They were super easy and didn't cost much to make either! 
  • Decorate the Box - We get a LOT of stuff on Amazon, so why not just leave the it taped up and decorate the box as is, along with stickers, pictures, and/or love notes all over it instead of wrapping paper? That would make me smile as the recipient 😃
  • Ditch Wrapping - There is no gift wrap police who is going to make sure you give wrapped presents... Consider forgoing the wrapping altogether or reusing cards and wrapping paper you already have! 

Other ideas...

  • Recycle the never ending boxes and that real tree instead of just throwing it into the trash. We actually bought a potted dwarf tree that we will plant outside when the holidays are over!
  • E-mail family cards to save on the paper waste and postage. I know... some of you will insist on mailing them still which is fine, but I do feel bad eventually throwing them away every year. If you're willing, keep it electronic. 
  • Buy your treats and stocking stuffers in bulk to minimize the extra packaging waste. Split them up into cool reusable bags like these that can be used for lunches and other outings in the following year!
  • I know it is more dishes but consider ditching the disposable plates and utensils for real silverware instead. Take turns doing the dishes, or turn on some music and dance while washing them together!
  • Re-gift things you already have. Why not?
I have been really excited seeing this as a "challenge" to find ways to have less waste for the holidays! What things have you tried to "clean up" your holidays and celebrations?