Annually the holiday season brings a shopping craze that sweeps across the country. An average American splurges almost $1000 every year during the festive season. A Nerdwallet survey has estimated holiday shoppers to spend around $823 on gifts, totaling over $178 billion this year alone. Deloitte calculates per household's holiday spending to be approximately $1,455 in 2022. Meanwhile, according to a Gallup poll, the number of people looking forward to spending money this holiday is far greater than the ones planning to spend little to nothing. The poll breakdown– 37% of American adults intend to spend $1,000 or more, 30% plan to spend between $250 and $999, while 17% of respondents plan to spend less than $250. Overall, this year's total expenditure estimate is expected to be higher than the previous year.
Holidays trigger a significant spending event for a majority of Americans. Buying gifts for yourself, family, friends, or co-workers makes for a good possibility that'll you'll be part of the shopping spree too. While the act of gifting may put a smile on the faces of loved ones, and most definitely benefit the market players, it is not so advantageous to the environment. This doesn't mean we have to kill the joy of gift giving. You can still keep the holiday spirit alive but in a more sustainably conscious manner to ensure your celebration is environmentally friendly.
We suggest these five simple ways to spread cheer and love while keeping nature in mind!
- When possible, consider planet-friendly presents
Choosing green gifts made with organic ingredients/ fiber/ recycled materials will help us move away from materials that are not planet friendly. Shop close to home or in a place with multiple stores. Try to use public transportation or carpooling if you have to buy from a far location to reduce transportation emissions. You may not know if your green gifts will be your recipient's favorite, but an eco-friendly gift ensures it doesn't harm the planet or the user.
Related blog: 5 Sustainable Gifts Under $50 from Terra Thread
- Cut Food Waste
Just like gifts, foods play a great part in holiday celebrations. We share, bond, and connect with delicious meals and drinks. However, food heavily contributes to the waste pile. Americans discard 25% more waste during holidays than at any other time of the year, roughly 1 million extra tonnes per week. To have a sustainable holiday feast, prioritizing eco-friendly dining is a must. Balance the food quantity according to the member count of your holiday gathering to prevent massive leftovers that eventually become waste and burden the landfills. If there are any leftovers, give them to friends and family members to take home if you can't finish them yourself. You can also donate the holiday leftovers, if perfectly edible, to food banks or homeless shelters in your neighborhood.
Related blog: 5 Tips To Reduce Food Waste At Home
- Shop Locally Grown Food
Choose organic food for healthier and tastier holiday meals while also supporting local farmers. You'll be able to eat farm fresh food that didn't travel very far to get to you, unlike items in the supermarket produce and meat section.
Related blog: 6 reasons to buy Locally Sourced Food
- Bring Natural Decorations into Your Home
Repurpose the previous holiday decorations. Avoid using disposable plastic ornaments, whether it's a Christmas tree, trinkets, lights, etc. You can also use natural decorations to bring a touch of nature into your home. When it comes to Christmas trees, go for the natural ones but be cautious before purchasing, as not all pine/ fir trees are equal. Choose an eco-friendly Christmas tree, preferably from a sustainable farm. If you're planning to add lights, opt for LED lights. They consume up to 90% less energy, which can significantly help cut down monthly bills. Fill your stockings with delicious, healthy, fair trade-certified snacks or homemade treats.
- Support Environmental Organizations
Many organizations work to clean up the mess our actions cause, including our extravagant holiday celebrations. This holiday season, you can lend a hand by physically or financially assisting the people working hard to improve our planet. Participate in community clean-ups, donate to local charities where you can help in making someone's holiday more memorable, or sign up for volunteer work that supports environmental causes.
Related blog: 5 Organizations Fighting Plastic Pollution
Replacing even a single wasteful habit with an eco-friendly alternative can have a significant impact. Let your friends and family know about your plans for a sustainable celebration, so everyone can contribute. There is something each of us can do, whether it's purchasing eco-conscious gifts, preventing waste, or volunteering our assistance to help our planet during the holiday season.
Making changes to the things we do traditional things may seem daunting or even challenging at first, but it will all be worthwhile in the end.
We hope you'll have a lovely and environmentally responsible holiday!