The holidays… oh it can definitely mean a lot of consumption!
Once the “ber”-months begin, you’ll see all sorts of Christmas items swarming the retail stores. And for people who take this jolly season seriously, it’s hard to resist spending money on new Christmas decor, cards, gift items, wrappers, treats, and other holiday merchandise, which will all just end up on storage boxes and garbage bins by the end of the season.
Christmas is without a doubt, a season of love and giving, but it can also involve more waste and excess, which is not just bad for the environment, but for your budget as well.
So this year, why not make a change and celebrate a eco- and budget-friendly Christmas with these tips:
Opt for a real Christmas tree.
An artificial tree may seem to be more cost-effective than a real tree since you get to reuse it for years and years after, but when choosing for a tree that won’t hurt your pocket and the environment, opting for a real one is the better choice.
Fake trees are made out of PVC, a non-recyclable plastic and may be manufactured with lead and other additives. Even if you use your tree for many years, it will still eventually end up in a landfill where they will never decompose. Unlike real trees that are 100% biodegradable. When Christmas ends, just have your tree recycled and used in your garden or other landscaping projects. Also, buying real trees help support small local farmers, which you can add on your “good deeds for Christmas” list.
OK, there are some legitimate reasons to get an artificial tree (they can really be more cost-effective in the long run, and they don’t require quite as much safety maintenance). If you decide to go that route, at least get one that is recyclable — like this 7.5-foot tree (with stand) at Amazon for $69. After using it for several seasons, please recycle it!
Go on a “No-Spend Challenge” on Christmas decor.
I’m sure you already have a decent collection of Christmas décor from years back, but I understand how exciting it is to get new ones and change the whole “Christmas look” this year. But to save money and minimize waste, I challenge you to not purchase any holiday décor this year (well, except for lights). You can still have a different style or design this year without buying new ones – just get crafty and artsy with your old decor.
Go for LED lights.
Speaking of lights, use LED lights this year if you have been using the traditional ones for the past years, because they consume less energy, which is better for the environment and can save you money on your power bills.
Better yet, they are much safer, especially if you have decided on a locally-sourced, natural tree.
One warning here is to avoid going for the cheapest LED lights you can find. Although LEDs have gotten substantially cheaper and more reliable in the last few years, there is still some worthless junk being sold in the $10 and under category. For between $12 and $30, you should be able to get a well-built string that should last several years.
Give eco-friendly gifts.
When buying gifts, go for sustainable gift ideas or buy local. If you have a talent for arts & crafts, why not make your own presents – it doesn’t just add a personal touch to your gifts, but save you a lot of dollars too. Also, try to stay away from object-based gifts and instead, give your loved ones experiences or donate to charities and plant trees under their name; doing this definitely takes “season of giving” to a whole new level.
Choose recyclable wrapping paper or gift bags, cards and tags.
You don’t have to go all fancy and over the top when it comes to wrapping your gifts. Reduce waste and recycle as much as you can this Christmas by simplifying your gift wrapping, reusing gift bags/ribbons or choosing recyclable wrapping papers/cards/tags.
Of course, you still have to make the effort to recycle it!
Be mindful of food waste.
With back to back holiday gatherings and a lot of indulgent meals, there’s a higher chance of food going to waste. Always remember to not buy more than you can eat and make use of leftovers to avoid food waste.
If you (or some other member of your family) is skilled at cooking, that will save you a lot of money over catering — and a lot of waste.
Again, Christmas is a season of giving, so make sure that you give something back to the environment too.