How to have a meaningful and sustainable holiday season


Gracie Moore, Reporter

The holiday season is chaotic to say the least. Trying to buy the perfect gift for someone who has everything, rushing to fill stockings and navigating around busy stores is overwhelming. It’s difficult to try to find a gift that is meaningful and environmentally friendly, so I’m here to guide you through December.

Gift giving is difficult as-is, let alone trying to give sustainably. If you’re looking for specific low-waste gifts, you could give anything reusable, like cotton pads, Bee’s Wrap food containers or stainless steel straws.

Try to avoid fast fashion brands for clothing and accessories. Re-gifting and checking out thrift stores is a good idea for decorations or household items.

Some of my favorite eco-friendly gifts to give are makeup sets from cruelty free brands, like Humankind, which sells bath and body products and reusable grocery bags. Baggu also makes a large variety of reusable bags from recycled materials.

Moderation and balance are key. Instead of lots of little items that someone does not use, try to get one meaningful gift that is useful and enjoyable.

Giving experiences is another option. Concert or sports tickets are good ideas for a significant other or family member. Maybe even consider an online subscription to a favorite magazine or newspaper.

Even if you can’t give very sustainable gifts, you can try to wrap gifts sustainably. There are a lot of ecological ways to do this that are inexpensive and easy. Using brown paper or old newspaper allows for less waste. You could also use and reuse fabric to wrap gifts.

There are lots of small businesses that make eco-friendly wrapping paper, like Wrappily. They use double-sided holiday printed wrapping that is made out of recycled newspapers and is 100% recyclable and compostable.

They also sell recyclable gift bows, ribbon and gift tags, plus supplies for other holidays throughout the year. Larger companies like Hallmark have started to release sustainable products as well, like reusable printed fabrics.

Even if you can’t shop sustainably because of finances or other reasons, trying to be mindful of the environment and waste is a great foundation. Gifts aren’t the most important part of the season, so there’s no reason to be stressed about sustainability; instead, just make small steps.

Presents and items don’t compare to the true reason for the holidays. The season is meant for being around those you love, being grateful for what you have and giving back to those who don’t have as much. Try giving your time to people who need it, making food for the homeless or volunteering somewhere that needs your help.

This season, I hope you can look at the holidays in a different way than before. Hopefully you can make choices to be more environmentally friendly without uprooting your entire lifestyle.

Maybe you will focus on giving more meaningful gifts that someone can use for years. But most importantly, I hope you can take a step back and remember that this season is about much more than items and be truly grateful for whatever good your life brings.