I don’t want this to be just another sustainable Christmas post you think about for two seconds then head off to do your Christmas shopping. I want this post to stay in your mind, capture your imagination, and ignite a fire within you. I want it to be your moral subconscious while you shop and that little voice in your ear as you plan your gifts, your meals, and your home decor. These simple changes can save the planet.
We have become detached from nature, our outdoor instincts, and the peace and connection it brings. We are disconnected from the land and the food we eat. Therefore it’s easy to understand that, at Christmas, when we are focused on planning, perfection, and consumption, we wouldn’t have the inclination or bandwidth to consider the looming environmental crisis and the consequences our behaviors this season will have on our planet. No other day of the year comes at a higher price for the environment.
Christmas can still be a happy, magical, giving celebration while making less of an ecological impact. There are so many ways we can show our families and friends we love them rather than slaving over and mailing out a whole heap of Christmas cards, battling long lines at the box stores, and creating heaps of wrapping paper for the landfill.
5 Simple Ways to Help Save the Planet this Christmas
- Purchase your organic foods in bulk from local farmers. Bring reusable cloth bags when shopping at grocery stores
- Meal plan to prevent extra food waste, use up leftovers, make your own stock from the veggie peelings, or start a compost bin
- Buy fair trade certified coffee and chocolate, and source your meat and dairy from sustainable farms prioritizing animal welfare standards
- Go palm-oil free to preserve the rain forests and limit climate change
- Save money and keep plastic out of landfills and oceans by using reusable crockery and cutlery
2. The Trimmings
- A real tree is more sustainable than purchasing a non-biodegradable, artificial one, which are typically produced in South Korea, Taiwan, or China and shipped thousands of miles to your town
- Consider investing in decorations that can be reused and handed down through generations. Choose glass, wood, or natural fibers over plastic. Purchase at local craft markets, or make your own with the kids.
- Light candles made from beeswax instead of petroleum-derived paraffin
- Send e-Christmas cards and save time, energy, and a few trees. Or if you must, consider sending those made from recycled paper and support nonprofit charities
- The planet is literally drowning in plastic. Recently a dead whale was found whose stomach contained hundreds of plastic cups, bottles, and thousands of other pieces of plastic. We can save the planet by stop using plastic
- Over the holidays, the amount of wrapping paper thrown out could circle the world nine times
- Metallic foil wrapping paper cannot be recycled. Wrap gifts instead in reusable cloth bags, old newspapers, festive magazine scraps, your kid’s old art projects, or a roll of recycled brown paper (which can be composted)
- Skip the glittery ribbons and bows, and try natural trimmings like pine branches
4. Stockings Stuffers
- Homemade candies or chocolates
- Organic and local fruits and nuts
- Sustainable arts and crafts materials
I love this handy little reminder from Earth Hero when I’m considering a gift:
- Keep it simple and meaningful
- Will they use it?
- What’s it made of? Choose natural fibers over synthetic and cosmetics made with organic products and essential oils
- Does it give back? It is sustainably sourced? Does the company donate to environmental and conservation causes?
- What is it wrapped in? Favor companies with a green packaging policy
What gifts can you give to help save the planet? Consider the Five H’s:
- Homemade: Edibles, kid’s crafts, and easy DIY’s
- Handmade: From local artists and artisans at craft fairs and night markets
- Helpful: A houseplant, seeds for spring gardens, a reusable coffee cup, water bottle, or a lunch box, gift vouchers, or a donation in their name to a charity
- Here: Locally produced reduces carbon footprint and all that Amazon, mail-order packaging you have to throw away.
- Healthy: Check out this post on 100 Healthy Gift Ideas
Here are a few other ideas:
- Experiences: Tickets for day trips, workshops, or classes
- Buy Used: Consider shopping at consignment, thrift, or antique stores to find vintage dishes, pottery, and jewelry.
- The Great Outdoors: Gardening sets, a mud kitchen, a worm farm, binoculars, nature field guides, or find a ‘new to you’ bike on Craig’s List.
Let’s take a stand this Christmas and choose consciousness over consumption and convenience. Let’s enjoy family traditions, quality time together, and simple pleasures. Because how you do Christmas in your home will determine how your kiddies do Christmas in the future. Let’s make a stand this year for the environment and save the planet because there is no Planet B.