The Holiday season can be a very wasteful time, as there are many expectations to decorate, buy gifts and host guests. While all of this can be fun for some, it can also cause stress and anxiety in others, including the stress of realizing how quickly your garbage bin can fill up.
I will offer tips to help reduce waste for decorating, gift giving and wrapping gifts.
Shop second hand! Use your preferred method of acquiring second hand goodies (thrift stores, kijiji, Facebook Marketplace). You can also dig through your recycling bin to find material suitable for DIY decorations. If you do buy new decorations, think about the end of life of the decoration. Focus on recyclable material, try to avoid plastic and take care of the decorations so they last a long time!
My number one piece of advice is to buy fewer gifts. Does everyone in your family and every one your friends need a gift? Try having a conversation with individuals about skipping gifts and see what happens. Maybe they are on the same page as you! You could also suggest Secret Santa or White Elephant. Two different options where everyone only buys one present.
If gifting is an important part of your holiday traditions, and Reduce isn’t the R you will focus on, try Reuse! Try to find second hand gifts, just like with decorations.
You can gift someone an experience like a movie ticket, gym membership, or spa gift card. The options are endless. What does this person like to do? Help them do that thing! Or is there something they don’t like doing? Offer to do that thing! Shovel the snow, make dinner, drop off groceries, or clean the house. Alternatively, you can give back this year and provide a financial contribution to a cause close to their heart.
You can also focus on the use of the gift. For example, you can give someone a shampoo bar, a safety razor, or something else that will help them reduce their own waste.
Avoiding waste while wrapping gifts is as easy as using reusable paper or cloth bags or try Furoshiki, which is a Japanese practice of using fabric to wrap gifts. You can buy fabric to reuse each year. Find fabric that’s already in your home, or making the wrapping a part of their gift. For example, use scarves or tea towels.
Again, look in your recycling bin; do you have paper in there you can use to wrap gifts? Be creative with it!