The holidays can often mean a lot of behavior that isn’t always eco-friendly. There is often a lot of extra waste, utilities and more. Going eco-friendly is a great way to help the planet, but also help your community and your wallet.

Shop local and support local businesses

Shopping local is wonderful in so many ways. It supports local businesses, and gives back into your community. It cuts down on things like driving to stores, and in choosing locally sourced items, you know that fossil fuels weren’t used to get those products to you from across the world.

Being a locavore is a great way to be eco-friendly year-round. It is great to shop for local products, but also local foods. We love buying local produce when we can. And while that can be tough in the wintertime, we still try to buy local food items like honey, applesauce, baked items, and so on. Foods also make for great gifts, versus some other material items.

Use eco-friendly wrapping

Reduce the use of one-time wrapping paper, or find more eco-friendly wrapping paper. You can look for paper with a high recycled content.

You can also get creative wrapping gifts with things like cloth or bags, and using natural items to decorate with, like cut greens or twine.

We also like to save things like gift bags and bows, which we reuse any time they are still in good shape. You can reuse ones from previous years, or be sure to save some for future years. You can also make your own gift bags with recycled materials.

Gift eco-friendly items

There are so many great eco-friendly gifts out there that are perfect for giving. There are endless choices, from eco-friendly soaps, sustainably made clothing and jewelry, and much more. You can also gift things that help people to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, such as a compost bin, reusable bags, canning supplies, glass water bottles, bird houses, native seeds or plants, local honey, recycled or upcycled items, etc.

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Natural crafts and baking

Try some eco-friendly crafts and baking! You can make garlands with popcorn and berries or dried oranges. Make orange pomanders with oranges and whole cloves, instead of buying synthetic fragrances. Bake cinnamon ornaments. Make your own mulling spices instead of buying premade. The possibilities are endless!

Buy fewer material gifts

We have started giving more gifts that are experiences, gift cards, and foods. Instead of there being heaps of packaging and stuff everywhere, we have noticeably less “stuff”, which is better for the environment.

Consider energy Savings

In the cool winter months, be aware of your energy consumption. Even turning down the thermostat a few degrees can save heating energy and reduce your bills. It helps to get a programmable thermostat, so that you can create a schedule for maximum efficiency.

Switch to LED lights

This goes for both indoors and out. While you are switching over, be aware that you can bring your holiday lights to stores like Lowes to recycle your old string lights. LED lights save lots of energy and are much more efficient compared to old lights.

Be less wasteful when entertaining guests

Throwing holiday parties and entertaining can mean a lot of waste. It can help to plan ahead and think about things like buying in bulk, reducing use of things like disposable cups or plates, and so on. We also try not to use things like balloons or disposable tablecloths. While washing cloth napkins and tablecloths can be a little bit of work, going paperless is a great way to help the environment. Don’t forget to clean with cloth rags as well!

Compost food waste

Just because it is winter, doesn’t mean you can’t compost! I keep an indoor compost crock under the sink, and continually fill my outside compost bin with it. By spring there is so much great organic material in there, the compost turns a lot faster than if it only had a little in it.

And don’t forget to shop with your reusable bags!