You Ask, We Answer: How Can I Have a More Eco-Friendly Holiday?
The holiday season is in full swing, and with it, the holiday decor in our Connecticut homes, the gift wrap, the shipping boxes–and all the traces they leave on our environment. If you love the holidays and want to celebrate but you’re torn about the environmental impact they create, keep reading. As it turns out, you don’t have to sacrifice feeling festive for caring for our planet. Here are our 5 tips on how to have a more eco-friendly holiday!
Forgo the glitter and shimmer
Foil-stamped wrapping paper and glittery cards may look beautiful and festive, but their impact on the environment is far less appealing. That’s because these types of paper can’t be recycled, meaning they end up in the landfill.
When it comes to sending cards and wrapping gifts, consider flat matte card stock and wrapping paper. If you’re going the personalized card route, Paper Culture uses bamboo or 100% recycled paper to create their beautifully designed cards and envelopes. “Clards”–cards made of material that can be used as a reusable dishcloth to save up to 3,000 paper towels!–are also a thoughtful and unique way to send the season’s greetings while being mindful of the earth.
Gift wrap made of plain brown or white Kraft paper is the easiest to recycle, and can be dressed up with recycled ribbon or twine and elements from nature: pine branches, holly leaves and berries, twigs, and even pine cones. Stamping your Kraft paper with eco-friendly ink or personalizing it with crayons or colored pencils is also a fun way to get the whole family involved in the festivities!
If you’re seeking a bit more color in your gift wrap than what Kraft paper provides, there are plenty of eco-friendly options available these days. The Doodle Factory sells contrasting yet complementary sheets of gift wrap made of 100% recycled paper. Jackson Wrapping Paper sells Kraft paper rolls with an elegant twist–and we love the cutting line graphs on the back to keep things straight and neat!
Recycle, reuse, and recreate holiday cards
If you’re looking to save some money this holiday season–and really, who isn’t?! –consider recycling holiday cards of years past by cutting the greeting card portion off and using them as a holiday postcard, instead. If you’ve hung on to old cards you’ve received but they’re just taking up space, this is a great way to find new life for them while saving money on boxes of this year’s designs. You can make this an ongoing practice as you collect cards over the years–before you know it, you’ll have an enviable vintage card stash that can be used as postcards, gift tags, or even as decor!
Consider 2-in-1 gift wrap
If Kraft paper wrapping isn’t your thing, why not pick up some secondhand scarves, handkerchiefs, or reusable napkins with which to wrap your gifts? We love a mix of patterns and colors for a truly unique gift-giving experience, and have even used sparkling old brooches and hair pins to secure the tied fabric and add a bit of festive shine.
Wrapping gifts with fabric is easier than you think, and can be a money-saving option when you hit thrift stores, clearance racks, tag sales, or even your own home for odds and ends to make your packages feel unique and celebratory!
Give the gift of an experience
Worried that in a few months, your gift will lose its luster when the novelty wears off? Consider giving the gift of an experience to loved ones of all ages. Whether it’s a trip into a nearby city to see a live show, a day at a local museum or planetarium, an adventurous outing along Connecticut’s hiking trails or shorelines, or a day spent exploring the Connecticut wine trail with your family and friends, giving the gift of an experience offers an opportunity to connect with loved ones without the impact on your local landfill. Plus, who doesn’t love an opportunity to create new memories?
Last but not least, if you’re really looking to lessen your impact for an eco-friendly holiday season, you may opt to forgo mailing cards–even if they are recycled–altogether. Paperless Post offers beautiful and customizable ecard designs that you can send to everyone in your address book, without worrying about generating waste. Plus, you’ll have more wiggle room to ensure they arrive on time!
However you celebrate the holiday season, we hope these eco-friendly tips will help you feel good about gathering with loved ones and celebrating your own traditions. Cheers!