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The Curb” – At the Intersection of Climate Info and Action

How to Have a Climate-Friendly Christmas

Ho ho homemade gifts and fa la lower your carbon footprint!

Deck the halls with red and GREEN! The holiday season is a jolly time to celebrate love, family, and the climate!

Christmas is often a time of excess. The holidays are filled with extra food, gifts, decorations, lighting, packaging, and money spent. All of this extra, extra, extra leads to consume, consume, consume, and that’s not the original purpose of Christmas at all!

Christmas festivities don’t have to take a heavy toll on our health, our bank accounts, or our planet. We can enjoy the holidays without big expenses and tons of emissions. With a dusting of effort and a sprinkle of creativity, you can have a climate-friendly Christmas!

Here’s how you can lower your carbon footprint this holiday season.

Travel lightly.

Pack lightly.

Pack your bags lightly as you travel for the holidays. Speaking from experience, all you really need when you travel home for five days during the holidays is a backpack. The less you carry, the lower your carbon footprint! Think simple and minimal this year.

Use public transportation or carpool.

If you have to road trip to the in-laws’, travel in the most eco-friendly way possible. Carpooling and public transportation are likely greener options than your car!

Bonus points for the badass who hops on their bike instead. Santa told us he’d throw something extra into your stocking if you travel with zero emissions this year. Come on, spend as much time outdoors this season as possible!

Offset your emissions.

Airlines sometimes allow you to pay for the cost of your emissions. If this is an option, go for it! You can also offset your carbon footprint on your own. Calculate your holiday travel emissions and plant enough trees to offset them! Hey, planting Christmas trees is a pretty festive activity.

Be a conscious gift giver.

Make homemade gifts.

Skip consumerism this holiday season. We don’t need to buy any more THINGS! Get crafty at home instead. Homemade gifts are thoughtful and sentimental. Look for thrifted, pre-owned, or natural materials to make the special people in your life something they’ll appreciate. Check out these DIY beauty product recipes and these last-minute zero waste gift ideas!

Support local businesses.

Support your local artists and crafters to avoid the extra emissions accumulated from shipping. Local businesses tend to put more love and thought into their products than large companies do. Plus, your local shops just might allow you to go package-free.

Wrap with compostable paper.

Or none at all! Most wrapping paper is made from plastic and comes wrapped in more plastic. Skip the plastic packaging this year, and if you must wrap your gifts, choose a biodegradable, compostable option instead. Newspapers will do!

Make memories instead.

Plan fun activities with your loved ones instead of buying more things to fill their homes. Cozy holidays festivities are the best! Make long-lasting memories by going ice skating, skiing down mountains, drinking hot cocoa while the Grinch steals Christmas, or picking out a Christmas tree at a tree farm.

Deck the halls with nature!

Use nature to decorate for Christmas.

Christmas is a time for decorating. Skip the materialism this year and use what you already have. Walk out your front door or head over to the local park and come home with beautiful and natural holiday décor. Pick up pinecones and pine needles for a homemade wreath or garland for your mantel. Collect logs for the fireplace. Then, dry some berries to add some red to all the green! Also, consider decorating with a real Christmas tree that you can plant after the holidays.

Burn natural candles, then reuse the jar.

Decorate your home with scents of pine, cranberries, and sugar cookies! Look for sustainably made, natural coconut wax, soy wax, or beeswax. Once your delicious-smelling candle burns out, repurpose your jar! I’ve turned my candle jars into spice jars, key containers, and plant jars!

Use LED bulbs and turn off the Christmas lights when they’re not in use.

If you put up Christmas lights, make sure you’re using LED bulbs, which use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. It sounds sparkly and pretty to keep your Christmas lights on all of the time, but the climate-friendly option would be to only turn them on when it’s dark out and to turn them off before you go to bed.

Have a low waste Christmas dinner.

Use reusable grocery and produce bags.

As you shop for your Christmas dinner and desserts, bring your own grocery and produce bags. There is no need to use those single-use plastic bags!

Shop at local markets.

Many local farmer’s markets allow you to bring your own reusable bags and jars so you can avoid packaging altogether! Also, if your family isn’t about to skip the delicious Christmas ham this year, local meat markets often package meat in paper instead of plastic. Local markets process food locally instead of shipping food across the country, which tacks on the emissions.

Convert your kitchen into a zero waste kitchen.

Zero Waste Kitchen Goals:

  • Repurposed mason jars for herbs and spices

  • Reusable grocery and produce bags

  • Compostable dishwashing scrubber

  • Natural homemade all-purpose cleaner and dish soap

  • Reusable towels

  • Beeswax wrap for food packaging

  • Reusable coffee filters

  • Glass casserole dishes and food storage containers

  • Stainless steel pots and pans

  • No plastic in sight

Zero waste kitchens don’t happen overnight. Approach this process by taking baby steps. This Christmas, take the next zero waste step in your kitchen!

Send everyone home with leftovers in reusable food storage containers.

No crumb shall be left behind this Christmas! Gather your reusable food storage containers and fill them up with leftovers. We all love Christmas leftovers if there isn’t an overwhelming amount, so plan ahead and only make the amount of food your family needs.

Celebrate the true meaning of Christmas!

Shift your mindset.

A simple shifting of your mindset this Christmas can have a very positive impact on the environment. What does Christmas really mean to you and your family? Likely, the true meaning doesn’t revolve around materialism. Material gifts bring temporary pleasure, whereas quality time and thoughtful experiences bring lasting happiness.

Bah humbug, consumerism.

Stray away from the consumerism that Christmas has become for so many families. Don’t get sucked into the trap where you come home with your arms loaded with plastic single-use shopping bags filled with unnecessary materials that your family will rarely ever use! You don’t have to buy happiness this Christmas!

Gather around the wood-burning fireplace with your family and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas this year!

Happy GREEN holidays, everyone!

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