How to rethink, reduce, reuse, and recycle during the holiday shopping season

Holidays are a time for family and fun. Unfortunately, it’s also a time of waste. We get caught up in buying gifts for the people we appreciate. But we forget to stop to think about showing the earth some appreciation during the holiday season by reducing waste. It’s the best gift you can give the earth and maybe even those special people in your life.

The wrapping paper that piles up next to the Christmas tree, the toys that no one cares about after a few months, the extra food that goes uneaten and has to be thrown out can all be avoided. Gifts don’t have to be material things. You can give something homemade; often it’ll mean more than a store-bought product. Use newspaper as wrapping paper. It’s easy to recycle, eliminates buying more stuff, and gives your gifts a unique aesthetic. Prepare the right amount of food for the number of guests to reduce the amount of leftovers. If you do have leftovers, give everyone doggie bags!

Here are more ideas:

Ideas from King County

  • Create a local food gift basket. Who doesn’t like receiving food as gifts? This not only reduces your waste, but helps local shops and vendors such as those at the Pike Place Market.
  • Give the gift of homemade treats. Bake your favorite treats and place them in festive containers.
  • Giving meaningful things to a significant other can be challenging. Give them a yearWrap-it-Up-map-jump-rope-large of experiences! Create an envelope for every month and include a date idea, a coupon, or a gift card.
  • Centerpieces are the focus at the dinner table, so consider having a natural one. Use plants from your garden and include some berries and fruits.
  • Have a hiker or traveler in the family? Wrap their gifts in old maps!

Ideas from New Dream

  • Select child-friendly toys that are likely to be used for a long time. Choose toys that require activity like balls, dolls, and building blocks.
  • Choose second-hand toys.
  • Talk to kids about where things come from and where they end up. Tell them about thrown away toys – the “landfill of yesterday’s toys.”
  • Have screen-free holidays. Put down the screens and focus on family time and cook or play games together.

There are many ways to change your holiday habits for a greener holiday. Start with small steps and slowly build up from there. Maybe you can try different ideas each year. The important thing is to have fun with it and enjoy your family time while reducing waste.