Tips for a Very Sustainable Christmas!

Deciding to live a sustainable life is a year-round commitment. The Christmas season has become a hot spot for wasteful, non-sustainable practices. This means you need to be more diligent about how you celebrate the holiday. Fortunately, with the right mindset and a few simple changes, you’ll be celebrating a sustainable Christmas.  Everyone could use a few sustainable tips for their Christmas celebration.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite tips for keeping sustainability at the forefront of your festivities this year.

Reduce Plastic Waste

Many people opt for single-use plastic tableware for Christmas to cut down on the dishes they have to wash. However, single-use plastic is horrible for our environment. Choose reusable containers and tableware for your holiday meals to make your Christmas more sustainable.

Avoid plastic utensils that get thrown away after your meal. Instead, use the utensils you already have in your kitchen or invest in a special stainless-steel set that adds to your festive table settings. Also, make it a point to use reusable towels and napkins instead of paper ones to eliminate paper waste.

Choose a Sustainable Christmas Tree

One of the first things you should do to celebrate a sustainable Christmas is to avoid plastic Christmas trees. Instead, choosing a real tree is much better for the environment, and some options allow the tree to be used for more than one year.

You can choose a living Christmas tree growing in a pot because it can be used year after year. Not only does buying a potted tree help the environment, but it also gives you a plant that you can enjoy all year, not just at Christmas time. Some tree farms also let you “rent” a tree, meaning you can care for it during Christmas and, at the end of the season, return it to the farm to be replanted until next December.

Limit Your Travel

A more sustainable Christmas should include as little travel as possible.  Opt to travel only when necessary. If you need to travel a long distance, consider a train ride instead of air travel. Not only is a train better for the environment, but it can also be a fun experience for passengers of all ages. Just note that traveling by train will take longer than an airplane ride, so plan accordingly.

If you’re staying local and the weather allows, walk or ride your bike to where you’re going when you can. Shorter trips can be a great time to get exercise and avoid polluting the air with your car’s emissions.

Donate to a Charity

Christmas is the season of giving, and this time of year, there are a lot of charities taking donations of new and gently used items. If you have clothing or toys you want to get rid of before opening gifts this Christmas, consider donating them to a local charity that can put them to good use. Not only does it help others during the giving season, but it prevents your unwanted items from ending up in the landfill.

Look for local homeless and women’s shelters to donate clothing to, family service agencies for new or gently used toys, and animal shelters for unneeded blankets, towels, or linens you may have.

If you can’t donate money or items, then serve at one of the many shelters.  It will bless you more than you can imagine!

Plan and Budget

You’ll be surprised at how much more sustainable you can make your festivities if you simply plan and budget for what you’re doing to celebrate. Taking time to develop a plan will keep you from buying items you don’t need and, therefore, creating unnecessary waste.

Purchase only the items you truly need and, when possible, purchase them secondhand or in other sustainable ways. Avoid buying excess items you’ll only use for one Christmas party and never need again. When buying items like clothing or decorations, look for affordable options that are sustainable and can be used again after the Christmas season has ended.

Remember, browsing thrift stores for Christmas clothing or décor can be friendly to your budget and be more sustainable than shopping at traditional retail stores.

Cook and Eat at Home

Cooking a delicious Christmas meal at home and eating it there is much more sustainable than going to a restaurant with your friends and family. Plus, it’s a fun way to create holiday traditions and get better at cooking. Avoiding restaurants for your Christmas meals can limit your waste and reduce the amount of packaged food you consume this holiday season.

Use fresh, local ingredients that are in season to cook delicious and sustainable Christmas dishes.

Reduce Electricity Consumption

The Christmas season often sees an uptick in electricity consumption because of all the lights and decorations we like to put out. If you want to go all-out with your decorations, look for energy-efficient ways to do so. Choose LED or solar lights to reduce the amount of electricity your decorations use. It’s also a good idea to use timers for your decorations so they aren’t on during the day. A dusk-to-dawn timer is a great option to light your outdoor decorations up at night and keep them off during the day.

Use Eco-Friendly Decorations

When choosing your Christmas decorations, look for eco-friendly, reusable options over single-use options. Even better, consider making your decorations with natural supplies you find around your property. Creating your decorations can be a fun way to make memories and create unique items that are beautiful and special to your family.

Consider using seasonal foliage to decorate your home. Use some wood or pinecones you find in your yard to create stunning, rustic holiday décor. The options are endless when you decorate with what you can find on your property. Of course, when the season is over, keep everything you can to use again next year.

On our farmstead we have tons of cedar trees and pine cones, which provide us with beautiful decor.

Final Thoughts

Christmas is a fun time to look for special ways to celebrate sustainably. While it takes effort to create a sustainable holiday, it’s well worth the meaningful memories and activities that come out of it. Keep these tips in mind, and have a merry, sustainable Christmas!