5 Steps to a Greener Christmas

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Happy Holidays, everyone! It’s that special time of year again and let’s be honest, I’ve been in full-on holiday mode for at least a month now. I started my Christmas shopping super early and we had our tree up the day after Thanksgiving. Also, be sure to check out my Ultimate Stocking Stuffer List

But with the holiday season, comes a lot of spending. We buy gifts, decorations, wrapping paper, boxes, bags, tags, and just everything we need to have a holly jolly Christmas. But what we don’t think about when buying all these things is the impact it will have on our planet. 

According to Stanford University, Americans throw away 25% more waste during the time between Thanksgiving and New Years than any other time of year, which amounts to 25 million extra tons of garbage – that’s 1 million tons a week! But, there’s something we can do about this; reduce, reuse, recycle! 

According to the same article, if every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon could wrap a bow around the entire planet. Crazy, right? Taking this into consideration, I’ve compiled a small list of easy changes you can make at home this time of year that can really make a difference in your family’s yearly holiday waste. 

5 Steps to a Greener Christmas

5 Steps to a Greener Christmas

1. Never buy gift boxes again

Cereal box gift bags by Rena Jones.

We’ve all done it at some point; purchased brand new gift boxes even though we still had a huge stack leftover from the previous year (just buried deep in a box somewhere). I mean, if you have a big family like mine, you’re going to need a ton of boxes. But what you may not realize is, you can save yourself some serious cash by saving up the cardboard boxes around your house and using those to wrap presents in! 

Now, I know some may think this is tacky, but what harm does it do? It’s free, eco-friendly, and gives a little bit of character to your gift boxes. Sounds like a deal to me. 🙂

Alternatively, if you’re not feeling the cereal box look, you can also save the store bought boxes that are in good shape every year and use them over and over. (Because kids might be a little suspicious if their gifts are wrapped in all the same food boxes that Mom buys.)

2. Save those bows!

Upcycled dictionary bows and tags by Manda Mo Designs on Etsy.

In addition to boxes, another great item to try and save is bows. Most of the time, they’re used for one present and then just thrown away.  If they’re in good shape, put them all in a box to use over and over again! It doesn’t take long to develop a decent collection and you won’t have to buy them for years to come!

Plus, bows all look so similar; who’s gonna know? 

3. Use recycled paper

Don’t get me wrong, I looooove me some snazzy wrapping paper. It’s supposed to represent the magic of the North Pole, so it’s gotta be bold! However, a great alternative to traditional paper is recycled newspaper, or -for my fellow couponers- expired coupon inserts! Even if you wrap just a few small gifts this way ever year, it can make a big difference over time! 

Another similar idea I’ve seen is using the pages of an old book!

4. Send out eco-friendly cards

One of the oldest Christmas traditions for families is sending out holiday cards. And in recent years, I’ve been noticing that a lot more websites offer the option of using 100% recycled paper for their printing services. 

Minted offers a variety of recycled holiday photo layouts, and they’re also super cute!

5. Make your own ornaments

bottlecapsnowmenpinnableBottle cap snowman ornaments from One Artsy Mama.

There are a ton of recycled/upcycled ornament ideas out there today and all the ones I’ve seen are so cute and incredibly easy to do. A quick Pinterest search brings up a variety of different ideas, from old light bulbs to Keurig K-Cups. This is a cheap, easy way to give character to your tree and have fun at the same time! It’s also a great kids activity! 

Be sure to try out some of these ideas to have your self a greener little Christmas! 🙂

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