The holidays are a wonderful time of year when festivities and traditions take place. Gift giving is often a large part of this season, exacerbated by Black Friday and other holiday deals. Decorations and lights also begin taking over towns and cities. All of these practices contribute to a time period of huge overconsumption worldwide. How can we as consumers consciously reduce our footprint without sacrificing the holiday magic and spirit? Follow these five tips for small, easy ways to celebrate the holidays more sustainably.
Holiday decorations are so fun and bring a lot of cheer to the bleak and cold seasons. But, try to avoid consuming so much energy to light up the neighborhood. Whenever you are gone for long periods of time or are asleep, make an effort to turn off decorations that use power. Just like how you turn off the lights before you leave your home, the same intention can be made with holiday decorations. Alternatively, try to find more traditional decorations that don’t even need power (or find some sort of energy-conscious offering). That way, you are avoiding the issue all together.
Now, this one might be more challenging and unnatural to implement, but there are more benefits than one. The holidays can be a stressful time in terms of ensuring that everyone is pleased with their gifts and no one is left out. Our happiness and self-worth can tend to rely on how many gifts we get and from whom. But it’s easy to switch this narrative within your household if you set expectations. This might be more difficult with children, but amongst adults it is easier to agree upon a standard of gift giving. Maybe you agree to only exchange one or two gifts with your partner and make sure that it is extra special. Maybe you set up a Secret Santa gift exchange with your friends and family: this way, each person only gives and receives one gift, but everyone feels included and valued. Not only does this effort to approach to gift-giving save money, but it also encourages setting limits to overconsumption practices and avoiding materialistic tendencies.
All of these tips take a conscious effort, but once they are implemented as habits, they are easy to maintain and make a larger impact than you might expect. Challenge yourself and your family to lower your waste this holiday season—you might just find yourself saving time, money, and energy in the process!