17 ways to celebrate sustainable christmas
Meaghan Weeden | November 29, 2021 | 5 min read
How do you Celebrate a sustainable Holiday?
It's no secret that we love this time of the year. The snow is falling, the forest is quiet, and we're ready to do ALL of the winter things. But you may be wondering, how to make your holiday celebrations more sustainable and eco-friendly?
At One Tree Planted, we choose to celebrate Treecember, which is, you guessed it, a celebration of trees throughout the month of December! We take this time to honor the important things in life, like friends and family, giving to others, and appreciating nature — in other words, all the things that make for a wonderful sustainable holiday season.
17 Ways to have eco-friendly holidays
1. CROSS OFF OUR SUSTAINABLE HOLIDAYS CHECKLIST
We know that during the busy-ness of the season, figuring out how to have a sustainable holiday can feel next to impossible. This is where our Sustainable Holidays Checklist comes in!
From DIY wrapping paper to LED Christmas lights, we’ve gathered up some of our favorite tips to help you stress less about your christmas footprint and focus on the important stuff
2. GIFT A TREE PLANTED IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Feeling stumped about someone one your list? Consider gifting a tree! Why? Trees truly are the gift that keeps on giving: they absorb carbon, provide a home for wildlife, clean our air and water, hold the soil together, and so much more.
And when you gift trees through us, you'll be able to customize an awesome e-card that's sure to delight the environmentalist in your life!
3. START PLANNING YOUR SUSTAINABLE NEW YEAR
The week between Christmas and New Years is the perfect time to slow down and reflect on everything that has happened over the past year — and begin planning for a more sustainable new year.
So what are you waiting for? Set aside a little time, put pen to paper, and dare to dream!
4. GIFT A COZY TREE BEANIE
With many people still erring in the side of caution due to COVID, more people than ever are getting outside. And as long as you have the right equipment to stay warm and dry, the possibilities for winter fun are endless!
Get them a One Tree Planted Tree Beanie — it's a super comfy hat that you can wear with pride. The best part? You'll be supporting reforestation projects around the world!
5. TAG US USING #TREECEMBER
Here's your chance to get creative and share your holiday cheer with your friends and followers! Our #Treecember campaign is all about showing our gratitude for nature's abundance and giving back.
Between now and December 31st, tag @onetreeplanted, and use the #Treecember hashtag to join in the fun. Each time you post and tag us, we'll plant a tree just for you!
6. Put up a real christmas tree
Real Christmas trees are more eco-friendly than fake ones, as most come from local, sustainable farms where more trees are planted than cut down each year. When you’re done with your tree, it decomposes naturally.
In contrast, fake trees are made from fossil fuels extracted from vital ecosystems and will pollute the environment for many years, adding no benefits.
7. SWITCH TO LED CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Not to be a grinch, but all those twinkling lights wash out stars in the sky, disrupt ecosystems of nocturnal wildlife and waste energy.
So if you do put up Christmas lights, consider putting timers on them so they shine for a few hours but shut off automatically after everyone has gone to bed. And if you can, make sure those lights are energy efficient LED’s.
8. UPCYCLE THINGS YOU DON’T USE
There are 300,000 items in the average American home, with a collective average of 1.2 trillion dollars spent every year on nonessential items.
While we aren't suggesting you gift others your hand me downs, there are thousands of awesome upcycling projects that can be made with everyday items to create unique decorations and gifts. The best part? It's a chance to clean up the clutter while giving new life to your stuff!
9. GET INVOLVED IN YOUR COMMUNITY BY VOLUNTEERING
Give your time by volunteering at a food shelter, nursing home, hospital, or other community function.
These organizations do great work all year round but they can probably use an extra hand during the busy holiday season.
Your presence is priceless — and you can share ideas for the sustainable use of materials or eco-friendly activities!
10. Explore Nature’s Rhythms No Matter the Weather
There’s always something to appreciate in nature, even if the temperatures are cold outside. Step out for family hikes, visit your local forest, go skiing, hit up a skating pond or rink, or just sit by a fire with a mug of hot chocolate and watch the snow fall — we won't judge. Not only is it great to appreciate the outdoors, but your health will benefit too. Any fees for local parks also support environmental stewardship.
11. MAKE SURE YOUR HOUSE IS WELL INSULATED TO SAVE ENERGY
An insulated home is more energy efficient and eco-friendly. It’ll also save you money.
The EPA estimates that homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs (or an average of 11% on total energy costs) by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces, and accessible basement rim joists.
12. GIVE GIFTS THAT INSPIRE SUSTAINABILITY IN OTHERS
Lecturing friends and family on sustainability isn’t going to get them on board, but gifts that are fun, interesting, or informative might just inspire them to think differently.
Maybe it’s a book on crafting with recyclables, a set of reusable travel cups, or a work of art that provokes conversation. Find a balance between something that person is already interested in and the theme of sustainability.
13. Keep Your Carbon Footprint Low While Traveling
Whether you’re driving or flying, there are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Bring along your own snacks and food containers to reduce your waste from package foods you might otherwise purchase.
Travel less if you can, or use electric or hybrid public transportation methods if available. And of course, plant trees to offset your carbon emissions!
14. GIVE GIFTS THAT DON’T CREATE WASTE — LIKE EXPERIENCES
Waste is a huge global problem. Every 2 hours, we throw out enough stuff to fill the world’s largest container ship with trash. That’s 12 container ships every single day, and 4380 container ships in one year.
Even with your best intentions at heart, the gifts you give are likely to end up as waste. Gift waste-less gifts instead!
A trip, outdoor experience, or delicious edible gift are all great alternatives.
15. RECYCLE AND DECORATE NEWSPAPER FOR WRAPPING PAPER
Most wrapping paper has little to no recoverable value when it comes to post-consumer recycling, while 4 billion trees — or 35% of the total trees cut around the world — are used in paper industries on every continent.
Save newspaper and magazine paper, paint or decorate it, and use that for wrapping paper instead. Craving a more uniform look? Try wrapping gifts in fabric, which can be reused in sewing projects.
16. Plan Ahead to Avoid Food Waste and Use Real or Compostable Plates
Roughly 1/3 of the food produced around the world for human consumption gets lost or wasted. Single-use plastics are also a problem — they frequently don’t get recycled or even make it to a landfill.
A full 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic produced annually is left to flow into our oceans; the equivalent of pouring 1 garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. Plan ahead to eat all the food that you make, enjoyed from real plates that can be washed and reused!
17. DONATE TO ORGANIZATIONS WHOSE MISSIONS YOU SUPPORT
There are many amazing organizations working to create a more sustainable world. Support them!
Donations, fundraisers, social media sharing, or even just telling your family about the nonprofits you admire makes an incredible difference.
Whether it’s trees planted, land conserved, wildlife protected, or political efforts empowered, every action matters. Just choose what you’re passionate about and give what you can.
We hope you have a happy, healthy holiday however you're celebrating. And don't forget: you can take an eco-friendly approach to gift-giving and plant a tree as a gift!