‘Tis the season! It’s time to break out your ornaments and get some chestnuts roasting on an open fire because Santa Clause is coming to town! JCS-Group loves the holiday season just as much as you do and all the celebration that comes with it. However, the most wonderful time of the year isn’t always wonderful for the environment since there is a LOT of waste generated by the usual Christmas traditions – wrapping paper, food from family dinners, shopping bags, or packaging from your gift hunting. The list goes on – one holiday creates a ton of extra trash and junk!
Rather than accepting it as “It is what it is,” you can take steps to make this holiday season merrier – for your loved ones and the Earth. Giving environmentally-friendly gifts not only reduces your carbon footprint during Christmas celebrations, but it also helps your loved ones reduce their environmental impact throughout the rest of the year, too! So, before you make your list and check it twice, check out these six eco-friendly gift-giving ideas.
Plant-able Paper Cards
It’s the season of Christmas cards! Whether you’re sending out Christmas cards to your friends and family or using them to give gift cards (don’t worry, we all do it), think about the environmental impact those cards have. Instead of conventional Christmas cards, try out plant-able cards made from seed paper! When the card is planted in the spring, it will sprout beautiful flowers or other plants – you might say it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Zero-Waste Beginner’s Kit
Maybe your loved ones like the idea of living an eco-friendly lifestyle but aren’t sure where to start. Why not help them out with a zero-waste starter kit? Etsy has tons of options available, and Amazon even has a few choices. If you want to support a smaller business, check out EarthHero for several zero-waste gift boxes, too!
Wool Dryer Balls
Dryer sheets are full of harmful chemicals, and they don’t break down very quickly once they reach a landfill. To help reduce their impact, check out wool dryer balls. When you substitute dryer sheets with wool dryer balls, you keep those chemicals and extra waste out of your local landfill and reduce drying time by up to 25% – which helps conserve energy usage too! Pro tip: Add a few drops of essential oil for some fresh, natural scent.
Local Handmade Gifts
Art and craft shows are a gold mine of eco-friendly, upcycled products. Independent artists have tons of unique, handmade gifts for you to choose from, and you get to support your local community in the process! If there aren’t any art or craft shows in your area, check out Etsy’s “Local Seller” section to find artisans and vendors right in your backyard.
Making a gift yourself can be eco-friendly, but it’s also extra special for the person who receives it! Maybe you love sewing or embroidery and can make a few pieces for the loved ones on your list. Or perhaps you enjoy baking exquisite treats and could package up a few of them for your friends and family! Don’t be afraid to get creative and DIY your way through the holidays.
Give the Gift of Time
Most gifts are great but will end up being thrown out eventually (after they’ve been well0loved and used for years, of course). So instead of giving another gift with a short lifespan, why not give your loved one a memory that will last much longer? Find tickets to an event they would enjoy, or plan a trip to somewhere they’ve always wanted to go. Even something as simple as dinner out on the town together makes a memory that no one can throw out!
Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping
No matter the gift you choose, you want the wrapping to look great, right? Traditional wrapping paper contains harmful elements like aluminum, plastic ribbons, or other synthetic materials that take years to decompose. Instead of stocking up on glittery, glossy rolls of wrapping paper, try out these wrapping ideas instead.
Do you know those bulk rolls of brown paper? They may not be flashy, but the paper itself is recyclable – it breaks down much faster than conventional wrapping paper does. Since you typically buy it in bulk, it’s far cheaper than buying seven different tubes of wrapping paper, too! Swap out ribbons and bows for twine or string. If you really want to spice things up, tuck a few sprigs of eucalyptus or rosemary into the twine for a sophisticated look that’s 100% biodegradable.
Wrapped in Fabric
Instead of wrapping paper of any kind, consider wrapping your gifts in fabric. In Japanese culture, they use a traditional method called Furoshiki to wrap items or gifts in expertly knotted and folded fabric – like origami with cloth instead of paper. It’s beautiful, and eco-friendly to boot! You can buy Furoshiki wraps in various Japanese-inspired designs on Amazon, or you can purchase fabric in bulk from your local fabric or craft store. For some budget-friendly options, check your favorite thrift store for vintage fabric or buy some cheap bandanas. The sky is the limit for your fabric selections!
Okay, we’re not going to lie – stuffing a present inside a gift bag with some tissue paper is the ultimate gift-wrapping method. Unfortunately, it’s also pretty wasteful with all the paper and plastic material! If gift bags and tissue paper are your jam, look into fabric bags as an alternative. It could be a fun tote that matches the gift itself or just a fun, bold pattern fabric bag from the store. Pro tip: around the holiday season, Target tends to stock its shelves with some cute North Pole-themed fabric bags that are perfect for small to medium gifts.