Are you excited for the upcoming Holidays? No matter how you choose to celebrate, we wanted to take a moment and revisit some of the things we can do to make our holidays and our gifts more sustainable.
This time of the year brings a lot of cozy moments with the lights around town and hot beverages enjoyed with good company. However, most practices of gifting presents and traveling for the holidays create a significant amount of pollution and landfill waste. So we thought why not share with you a few ways you can make your holidays more sustainable this year.
And beware! More sustainable does not mean any less creative, heartwarming, or fun - you'll see, it's quite the opposite!
1- Wrap your presents in upcycled fabric or a pretty scarf
We all love to give our loved ones gorgeous wrapped presents, but once our gifts are unwrapped, the wrapping paper is thrown away. Most of us think that this is fine because paper is 100% recyclable. Some is recyclable, but, in fact most wrapping papers can't be recycled because of all the dyes, laminates, glitter and metallic additives, and ends up in landfills.
You can help reduce that number by wrapping gifts in fabric (furoshiki wrapping) and decorating them with elements foraged from nature like little branches, fallen pine cones and sprigs.
Avoid using tape as most contain plastic. If you really need it, try water-based paper tape. To replace tape altogether you can use a string made out of hemp, biological cotton or jute, to hold the wrapping neat and pretty.
2- Bring back re-gifting and DIY
First of all, yes! There is no shame in recycling presents! We all have that special thing at home that makes our family and friend's eyes sparkle. I am not only talking about circulating unwanted gifts. Imagine the surprise of a loved one when you tell them: 'I noticed that you love this so much, I think it will be better with you!' They will feel seen and loved!
Another good idea is creating something with your own hands (DIY). While not all of us are gifted enough to draw portraits or create beautiful paintings, we all can learn how to DIY a little. Your imagination is the limit! The added bonus is that choosing DIY gifts contributes to reducing over-consumerism.
3- Gift an experience
Instead of giving someone an object, why not give them an experience they can do alone (time to themselves), with you or the entire family (or your chosen family)? This option reduces the demand for physical resources and your Christmas footprint.
Dinner experiences, a day in the spa, tickets to shows, concerts, events, exhibitions or museums are nice examples but, a day out in the countryside or cooking someone a full meal or their favourite biscuits are also a terrific present!
4- Opt for train travel over flying
According to The Company of Biologists, aviation accounts for around 2.5% of global CO2 emissions. If we add the emissions from processing and distributing aviation fuel, manufacturing and maintenance of aircrafts, ground support vehicles and airports, the number increases significantly.
Compared to flying, using the train emits on average six times less GHG emissions, this means that by taking the train, we can cut up the CO2 emissions, by up to 90%! A good source for European train vs car emissions comparisons is www.ecopassenger.org.
5- Shop from Independent Small Businesses
In the end, if you need to buy a present, why not support your local and small economy? Search for your online local brands, like Primal Essence, visit Christmas markets filled with vibrant small entrepreneurs ready to be discovered, or small brick and mortar shops.
What did you think of these five ideas? Are you going to try one or more of them? We would love to see you share your reactions and comments here below or on our social media platforms! Instagram, TikTok, Facebook.
The whole team at Primal Essence wishes you a wonderful holidays season and happy celebrations!