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How to Have a Sustainable Holiday

Written by Richelle Jiana 

With the holidays just around the corner, here's a stat that will surely stick with you — Americans produce an average of 43% more waste during the holiday season! Another survey claims 56% of respondents feel like they need to choose between being sustainable and enjoying the holidays. However, there are plenty of ways to keep the holidays green! In this post, we'll discuss some of the eco-friendly ways to celebrate.

Plan an eco-friendly holiday menu 

One of the highlights of the holidays — aside from spending time with friends and loved ones — is undoubtedly the food. We are here to tell you plant-based options are just as yummy as your traditional spread! Eating meat (specifically beef and lamb) is associated with a high carbon footprint, especially when compared to plant-based alternatives. However, meat is also a big part of tradition for many families, so inquiring with local butchers about where your meat comes from is a huge step toward practicing sustainability, if you are not willing to skip the meat.

It's also good to be conscious of where your food waste is going and how much you’re producing - 40% of all food waste in the US happens in our homes! It's important to plan meals according to how many people will attend. Leftovers are sometimes inevitable, so reheating food and composting scraps can help reduce food waste. 

Give handcrafted gifts 

Holiday gifts don't have to be the most extravagant items to be meaningful. Taking the time to handcraft your gifts for loved ones shows the effort and care you put into them. DIY gift ideas may mean more than anything you can purchase in a store. Plus, adding a personal touch means they are less likely to go to waste! If you don’t have time to DIY your gifts or want to support sustainable businesses this holiday season, check out our FuturePartner Gift Guide! 

red bauble on brown giftbox

Decorate sustainably  

You don’t need to buy new, trendy décor to celebrate the holidays. Use the décor you already have, find secondhand pieces at the thrift store, or make décor out of natural materials! Stringing popcorn, dried oranges, pinecones, pine leaves, and other natural materials can create a beautiful, eco-friendly holiday garland. Your local nursery is also a great place to look for natural, locally grown décor.  

Donate your old stuff

Let's not forget the importance of giving back to the community during the holidays. Not only is it an excellent chance to share your blessings, but it also contributes to green efforts. There are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the US alone you can donate to, from prominent national organizations to local ones. If you're interested, look for local nonprofits with holiday events or initiatives lined up to accommodate your donations. And maybe when the new year rolls around, you'll even find a great organization to volunteer your time to!

Focus on the experiential, not material 

Finally, who says you have to gift material things? Consider gifting your friends and family concert tickets or send them on a relaxing vacation instead of buying something they may not use. Gift them an experience they can enjoy with you or another loved one so they can make memories that will last a lifetime! Material gifts often become clutter or waste, but a thoughtful experience will be remembered!