I’m a little gung-ho on the eco posts recently, I know. The timing just happens to be a little bunched up right now. Truth be told, both Friday’s eco-friendly baby post on diapering and this list of conscious holiday season tips came about months ago as I was lacking inspiration postpartum. These two posts were among the few ideas of that time.
ANYWAY. There’s so much that goes into the holidays and it can be a stressful time. Whether it’s watching how much you’re spending on gifts, decor, and travel; to struggling to find gift ideas for those seemingly impossible people on your gift list, all of these ideas help with one or more of those issues.
It’s interesting to note that on this eco-friendlier path I’m on, there are so many things (ideas, practices, and items) to add to my life. It gets overwhelming to be sure. At the same time, there are actually a lot of other ideas and things I already do or have!
Conscious Holiday Season Ideas
So here are my eco-conscious holiday season tips broken down into those that help save money and those that give you gift ideas. The great part is that all of these ideas are earth conscious and/or help local communities and small businesses.
1. Use up ALL of your leftover wrapping before buying anything new
I am SO guilty of this one, but I’m pretty sure everyone is! In the past, I’ve bulk bought wrapping paper and ribbon. And I always have leftovers. For the past two years, I’ve decided not to buy anything new until I’ve used up everything I have!
The only thing I’ve purchased in that time is gift tags and this year I’m going to try to skip even that!
2. Use leftover wrapping paper for stockings
You know all those “scraps” of paper you cut off for those larger presents? Don’t toss them. Start a stocking wrapping bag and save all those pieces to wrap those little gifts. The pieces and wrapping jobs won’t all be perfect, but Santa’s elves are doing amazing things!
If you aren’t wrapping stockings but know someone who is, ask if they’d like it. We always run out of stocking paper when we’re wrapping gifts, so anything extra is super helpful!
3. Box and ship economically!
I grew up in the warehouse of my parents’ business, so I’m very particular about packing. Nothing frustrates me more than wasted space in packing boxes. Try to be smart and intentional with how you wrap gifts and how you wrap those gifts in packing boxes!
Shipping costs are determined by box dimensions and weight, so if you use a smaller box, you’ll save money!
4. Get creative with wrapping!
Though wrapping paper is our default for wrapping, get creative. Reuse cute shopping bags; have your kids decorate paper for wrapping; use newspaper; wrap in terry cloth or string!
For food gifts (you know I love homemade gift ideas and I have a few coming your way!), try to use glass containers – I get mine at the Goodwill even!
5. Group Deliver Orders
So many of us do online shopping for most of our gift buying. Each delivery not only uses up those packing materials, it also takes up space on the delivery truck, uses that gas, creates those emissions, etc…
Try grouping your deliveries by a) ordering multiple gifts from a single site, and b) selecting a single delivery day when possible!
This might take a bit of planning and foresight, but we can do it!!
1. Gift experiences rather than gifts
It’s easy to get caught up in the physical part of gifting – a box to unwrap or a bag to unpack. As we get older, however, the number of things we want (need?) gets less and less. Instead of guessing what to get one another at the store, why not gift an experience?
The options for gifting experiences are endless! You can create a night out for a couple with gift cards to dinner and the movies. You can buy a local tour or class (there are tons of art classes available everywhere). You can buy a membership to a local yoga studio or fitness group.
Don’t live near the gift recipient? Just Google or Instagram search local things to do in their area!
You can also try searching AirBnB experiences. Many local businesses are starting to list their offerings on there to get new customers!
The great parts about all these gift ideas is that they can be personalized; they don’t require much stress; there’s not really much to wrap; and very often you’re supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs! Since some of these experiences are more expensive, they’re also great to go in on with another person!
2. Group donate to a charity!
Last year my sister and her boyfriend had the genius idea that our siblings should all just pitch in to donate to a charity rather than buy gifts for one another!
A few of my siblings are so easy to shop for. Others are kind of torturous for me. Since I’m not alone, a few years ago, we decided to do family gift giving over the individuals, which was a great improvement. Then we all wanted to save money, so we drew families names so that we were only gifting one family instead of four.
And then came the genius idea of donating to charity. Each year one family picks the charity and we all pitch in $25. It does take someone to organize it – collecting money (via cash, check, venmo, or paypal) and then getting it donated – but that’s not too complicated.
Last year we donated to a local Paradise group following the Camp Fire devastation. This year, my brother and his wife picked the Wildlife Conservation. You can go global or local, it doesn’t matter – it’s all for the greater good!