Did you know that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day Americans throw out one million tons of trash per week, much of it holiday wrapping and packaging? It takes a little extra effort, but it’s possible to celebrate in a more environmentally-friendly way without sacrificing holiday fun! Let’s work together to reduce waste on New Hampshire’s Seacoast.
Here are a few tips:
Reuse, or make your own, wrapping paper
Almost all wrapping paper is non-recyclable because of the inks used and the shiny coatings. Instead of using store-bought paper, consider using brown or white craft paper and decorate with markers or colored pencils. Turn it into a fun project for your kids! Instead of paper gift bags, wrap presents in reusable cloth bags. If you do purchase wrapping paper, look for planet-friendly brands that make paper made from recycled, compostable newsprint.
Re-gift, or give the gift of experiences
There’s nothing wrong with passing along a gift that’s not your taste but that someone else would love. Fun, vintage clothing from Goodwill or thrift stores can make great gifts. The holidays are also a perfect time to pass on family heirlooms, which make lovely, meaningful gifts. Another option is to gift experiences, like tickets to a concert or sporting event, a day spent at a museum or zoo, a class or workshop, or a spa day. Not only do these gifts cut down on consumer waste, but they’re much more memorable than another scarf!
You don’t have to be an artist or crafter to make your own gifts. Some fun DIY options include: framed photos, photo books, or calendars with pictures of loved ones; homemade cookies or bread; knitted, crocheted, or embroidered items; framed drawings or paintings from kids; hand painted ornaments (blanks are available at most craft stores); personalized coupon books (an evening of babysitting, a home-cooked meal delivered, dog walking, snow shoveling, etc)
Source ingredients for your holiday meal at local farms or food shops whenever possible. Buy gifts that support small, local businesses, whether handmade crafts or restaurant gift certificates. This cuts down on driving while helping out hometown retailers and keeping local people employed. If you prefer to do your shopping online, avoid Amazon and order from sites that support independent businesses like bookshop.com or Etsy.