The holidays should be a quieter time to reflect and spend time with the people you love, but oftentimes today they revolve around material gifts and performative celebrations that are shown off on social media. The most sustainable thing you can do around the holidays is to rest and opt out of the capitalistic traditions in our Western society, but we know that it's easier said than done. That's why we put together a list of seven small things you can do to make your celebrations at least a bit more sustainable.
Use simple brown paper to wrap gifts instead of printed or plastic-coated paper. You don't even have to buy the paper - if you have paper bags at home, you can just turn those inside out and re-use them. It even looks classier than printed gift wrap and can be decorated with dried orange slices or small branches. If possible, reuse the paper the following year.
If you get a Christmas tree, be aware that a fake one is not always more sustainable than a real one. The best alternative would be to rent a tree that will be replanted afterward - check if this is possible in your area.
Make a plant-based holiday meal. There are loads of delicious recipes out there, which make for a great holiday dinner, like this Franconian Sour Roast, or this vegan nut loaf. And for Christmas cookies, you could bake these vanilla moon cookies and cinnamon stars.
If you have some time off over the holidays, take an hour to go through your closet and sell or donate any old clothes you're not wearing anymore. You'll be contributing to the development of a more circular economy.
Give experiences or digital gifts instead of unnecessary material items. Even better, if you are lacking inspiration, ask the other person for a charity or cause of their choice and make a donation on their behalf.
Shop gifts locally and try to support small businesses. Instead of just ordering the next best thing off amazon, try to find small businesses that you can support, especially now during lockdown. Another idea is to make gifts yourself, like baking cookies or bread, or making jams and spice mixes.
Tone down the festive lights. Turn them on only at specific times, or get rid of them altogether. If you can't conceive of a winter holiday without a spectacle of lights, please ensure yours are LED, at least you will significantly reduce your household consumption (they use up to 80% less energy!).
Do you have any more tips? Let us know in the comments!