It’s finally here, one of the best times of the year––the holiday season! I love spending time with my friends and family, sipping on hot cocoa (or a turmeric latte), and buying gifts for those that I love. I love helping my mom decorate the house for Christmas on Black Friday. And most of all, I love sampling all of the tasty food at all of the parties I go to.

It truly is such a magical season!

But with the joys of the season, comes a lot of atypical consumption. From take-out boxes from holiday dinners out, to packages from online purchases, and all of that wrapping paper! The unnecessary waste does add up!

However, it doesn’t have to!

Obviously, everyone lives in different environments with different options for accessibility of zero and low waste options, so don’t feel bad about not being totally zero waste! We don’t live in a plastic-free world, and for many of us, it’s simply impossible to get through the holidays without at least a little plastic consumption. Each person doing there best is really all that we can do, isn’t it?

Here are some of my favorite tips to reduce your holiday consumption this year:

1. Shop in Store

Sure, online shopping is great. Ordering Amazon orders from the comfort of your favorite pajamas is one of the best inventions of the twenty-first century. However, it’s totally wasteful. Consider all of the excessive boxes and packaging that are shipped with your favorite online orders. An easy fix is going to your favorite shopping center to buy all of your holiday goodies.

Sometimes ordering online is totally necessary, I get it. Instead of ordering several smaller orders with only one or two items, consider buying just one order with all of the items you’ll need for the holiday season.

You can use the box it’s shipped in to wrap one of your gifts, or recycle it too!

2. And bring your own shopping bags with you

While you’re out shopping, make sure that you bring your own shopping bags from home! Whether you’re buying groceries for the holiday feast or gifts for that special someone reusable cloth grocery bags or tote bags are a great choice.

3. Bring your own take-out boxes to restaurants and family dinners

The holiday season is a time for more leftovers than can be managed. Help yourself out by bringing your own Tupperware to any holiday events or dinners out. This will help you reduce plastic waste from restaurants or cut down on the amount of food waste from your family events.

As an added tip, consider re-portion your leftovers into single serve containers once you get home, and even label them with the date if you have time. This will help you make sure you eat the treats before they go bad!

reduce holiday consumption the color gold

4. Reuse wrapping paper or put gifts in reusable bags

Wrap your holiday presents in old newspaper or old paper grocery bags, both of which are easily recyclable. Another option is to reuse any gift bags that you already have laying around. I don’t know about you all, but my mom has a ton of old Christmas bags in our attic, which are just begging to be reused!

Consider wrapping your gift in a reusable cloth grocery or produce bag to give a special bonus gift!

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5. Choose gifts wisely

When making your Christmas gifts list this year, consider buying eco-friendly gifts to your friends and family. Choose either gifts that are manufactured in an environmentally friendly way or gifts that will encourage their new owner to adopt eco-friendly tendencies. Also, take into consideration what the person you’re giving a gift to actually needs. Think about the sort of things that they could incorporate into their lifestyle rather than tossing into the closet.

Some great options are reusable straws and mugs, plastic-free soap and shampoo, and consciously made clothing, such as by the brand Everlane.

6. Send e-cards instead of physical cards

Let’s be honest, we all love receiving ‘fun’ things in the mail (i.e. not bills). However, sending tens of cards out to your family and friends is really wasteful. Consider sending e-cards to those who are usually on your Christmas card list. Or better yet, call everyone on your list to check in and see how they’re doing for more of a personal touch.

7. Use cloth tablecloths and napkins at your holiday dinner

Throughout the holiday season, my family and friends have so many get-togethers. From Friendsgiving, to regular Thanksgiving, to Christmas morning breakfast, and to Christmas dinner with the whole family, it seems like there are so many options where it would be easier to use paper plates and plastic cutlery. Sure, it may be easier to use these single-use items, but it’s definitely worse for the environment.

If you can’t provide reusable plates and cutlery for the party, feel free to bring your own individual plate and fork to the party. This way, you’ll at least be able to reduce your own personal waste, which is still a big win!

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