Making small changes to your Christmas festivities can inspire your loved ones to join you in caring for our planet.
Being green this Christmas doesn’t make you a party pooper. No one wants to celebrate with the eco-righteous cousin who makes family members feel ashamed for buying plastic toys wrapped in metallic paper.
That’s why the first step in our Eco-friendly Christmas Day Guide is radical acceptance of your loved ones’ non-eco ways…
‘Tis the Season to be Merry
Life is short and Christmas is just one day. If your family is not aligned with your eco-conscious lifestyle, accept their choice. Place your focus on how you can incite fun and connect with your family.
Give Planet-loving Gifts
Gift your loved ones sustainable products like zero-waste vegan lip balm or buy from companies that plant a tree with each purchase like Everbee's One Tree Planted project. For a curious learner, gift a nature experience such as an urban beekeeping workshop.
Nature-friendly Gift Wrapping
Over the Christmas period, the USA alone generates approximately 5 million tons of waste. Here are some fun alternatives to store-bought wrapping paper:>
- You can do a lot with fabric found at thrift stores. Think scarves, handkerchiefs, large napkins, and more—all of which can serve as a bonus gift.
- Wrap your gifts with reusable wrapping materials and decorate them with a pine sprig instead of using throwaway tags and ribbons.
- Create a vintage look with old maps, magazines or newspapers using clear tape and basic twine.
- Package your gift with a reusable container or bag. Jars work well if you wrap them in tissue paper to obscure the contents. Add a reusable ribbon for some extra flair.
Natural Christmas Decor
Evade the trap of commercial decorations by bringing nature indoors to create a festive, sustainable and seasonal vibe.
- If you have holly branches, berries or ivy growing in your garden you can use these to give your home a rustic Christmas aesthetic. Only pick what you need as birds rely on berries during the winter months.
- Create your own Christmas wreath from foraged pine cones, pine tree offcuts, twigs, leaves, dried fruit peel or anything else that catches your eye.
- Check out your local farmers market for seasonal herbs like eucalyptus or rosemary to add seasonal touches to your dining table decor.
Reduce the Impact of Holiday Lighting
The cost of electricity goes beyond the utility bill. Electricity drains natural resources.
- LED lights use up to 95% less energy than traditional holiday bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours when used indoors, reducing your carbon footprint and your power bill.
- Turn off tree lights and outdoor house decorative lighting at bedtime.
- Set the Christmas ambiance with candles where you can, safely of course.
- Sprinkle your outdoor space with solar-powered fairy lights.
Repurpose your Live Christmas Tree
If you’ve been enjoying a real tree in your home over the holidays, consider chipping the tree.
Many communities offer free tree chipping services to provide mulch for municipal landscaping or at low cost to gardeners. You may want mulch for your own shrub beds and garden pathways.
Connect with Nature
Christmas is a time for slowing down, enjoying family and gratitude. This may be an opportune time to begin a family tradition of giving back to the earth. Check out these ideas:
Family Nature Hike
A peaceful walk through nature on Christmas day will be remembered and valued more than the score of the football game. Plan your walk before the holiday meal while everyone still has energy.
Christmas Day Bird Count
Take your binoculars, a field guide to local birds, and a small writing pad for each participant as you walk through a course through your neighborhood, park or countryside. Try to identify and count every bird you see. At the end of the hike, list the species seen and number of birds per species.
Nature Restoration Activity
For warmer winter climates, planting a small tree enriches the giver, offsets the ‘taking’ of a Christmas tree and acknowledges nature as the source of our well being.
Decorate a Tree for the Birds
Place seed bells, pine cones with peanut butter, and seed trays on any tree in your yard, preferably a tree in the open where cats can be seen easily by the birds. This is a great activity for kids, and provides a food source for birds during the winter.
Progress, Not Perfection
We hope these ideas not only inspired you to make your Christmas day more earth-friendly, but more joy-filled for your whole family.
Here at Perpetual Pollen, we are passionate about saving the bees and leaving the earth better than how we found it, but that doesn’t mean we are perfect. It means we are getting better one day at a time.
Rather than feeling defeated by the hyper-consumerism of Christmas, we hope you will join us in embracing the holiday spirit of health, joy and peace.