With the holidays just around the corner, you may be wondering, how can I go green this holiday season? Some initial thoughts may have you feeling like it’s too time consuming to consider, sustainable options are too expensive, or perhaps the thought hasn’t crossed your mind yet. You’re not alone with these thoughts and feelings! Let’s discuss 6 ideas to consider this holiday season and where you can make some small changes that can make a big impact.1. Switching from single use wrapping to up-cycle and reusable options.
-Often times the biggest single use holiday items are wrapping paper, ribbon, bows, and tissue paper. Instead of using the traditional wrapping paper, consider a few other options, such as wrapping paper made from recycled paper or gifting a reusable shopping bag (I’ve had good luck previously with World Market designs and prices). Additionally, for a fun twist, you can incorporate the traditional Japanese cloth wrapping, Furoshiki (check out the graphic of fun ways to tie the gifts!). Try using cotton cloth up-cycled from old clothes, scrap material, and dish cloths for unique designs and plastic free options.
-If you believe a gift is not complete without using ribbons and bows, a few alternative options (and cost effective) could be using pine cones, candy canes, cinnamon sticks, or ornaments instead of ribbon. Focusing on something that is usable outside of a single, festive bow adds a personal touch and new function to a gift. If you do receive a bow or ribbon on a gift, take it off and reuse on another present.
2. Consider gifting an experience.
-Last year, my partner and siblings hired me as a photographer for family portraits. It was a great opportunity to capture the moment while everyone was together for the holidays. Hiring a local photographer (or aspiring photographer) is a great way to capture a meaningful moment in time, and is a lot of fun! Plus creating a photo book and family prints is a timeless treasure for years to come.
-Consider making something together. As a lifelong crafter, some of my most memorable moments are going to the craft store with my grandma to get a project to work on. This could be making a meal together, baking, creating wreaths, macrame, etc.
3. Handmade options that are simple, fun, and can be made in batches.
-Some products like candles and soaps may be a bit more labor intensive, but serve as delightful options none-the-less. Last year I learned how to make homemade body scrubs using coconut oil, essential oils and sugar or coffee grounds, which are: affordable to make, sustainable and can be packaged in recycled and reusable glass jars. The same idea could be done with teas -I’ve made a spiced chai and turmeric before that turned out well.
-My partner’s Italian family has a love for pasta and we made our own from scratch, last season, that we bagged up; consider including with a recipe for the pasta and sauce to go along with it. Also, timeless gifts like pasta makers and sturdy rolling pins are more durable than disposable gifts with single uses and can even inspire new family traditions!
-Does your family have recipes that are passed down from each generation? Consider putting together recipes of delicious dishes so they can be passed on and enjoyed by the next generation.
4. Are there local, small businesses you can support?
-There is no shortage of local talent, and each time you support a local business- a real person does a happy dance! A couple of my favorite in the Denver area are: Kimothy Joy and her book, “That’s What she Said,” inspiring apparel and unique, hand created prints centered around women empowerment. Mountain inspired, handmade candle company, Old Pine Candle, will want you cuddling up on snow days to bake chocolate chip cookies, or hitting the slopes quickly, with their mountain inspired candle scents.
-Consider attending local craft events in your area to find new talent and unique gifts. People work so hard to create meaningful items for you to have something made sustainably, and this also keeps your money circulating in your community – talk about purchasing power!
-Support female empowerment by purchasing an ornament, handmade with love that goes directly to support hard working women in Guatemala City.
5. Give the gift of learning- consider gifting an e-course or class.
-Whether your gift recipient is a novice or seasoned cook, there are a plethora of cooking courses available- anything from beginner to more advanced courses that are fun to do solo or as a pair.
-With an accessible camera always in hand, people are itching to learn and improve their photography techniques- consider supporting a local photographer in your area and gifting one on one lessons.
-From creative endeavors to business growth, companies like Creative Live, Coursera and Skillshare offer incredible opportunities in classes and programs you can take from the comfort of your home that can help enhance your creativity, learn a new skill or even advance your career.
6. What can you buy secondhand?
-It’s true, not everything can be found second-hand, but there is a lot of fun in the hunt and new treasures you may find! Grab a friend and set out for an afternoon adventure with a loose idea of what you’re looking for. A few ideas might be: coffee mugs, books or vintage items like fancy jewelry holders, dish towels, floral vases, and accessories. Often second hand shops will have sales going on during the holiday season, which is a double win. Second loved is often overlooked, but give it a go, there are many treasures to behold!
-Check out Tri Vintage in Lafayette, Colorado (don’t worry- they ship!) for incredible second loved, home goods and artisan made beautiful products. (They have an incredible mission and also support artisans in India.)
(Also, this mug pictured be purchased from the sweet owner of Bezale and Babel, who has incredible Nebraska + Colorado goods!).
Let me know what you think- did any of these ideas inspire you? Will you try something new this year? Let’s get creative, crafty, and go green this season!
Wishing you the best, and most meaningful, holiday season!