Driving for hours to Grandma’s house to eat off Styrofoam plates. Circling the mall, looking for a parking space. Desperately dashing around a discount store on Christmas Eve. Ah, holiday traditions.
Think this time of year is stressful for you? Consider how the choices we make during this festive time of year impact the planet. How can you help yourself and the Earth this holiday season? Here are some ways to make your gifts a little greener, your impact a little lighter - and your holidays brighter than ever!
1. Stay out of the mall.
The average American spends about $700 on holiday gifts. Here are some ideas on how to cut down your spending and environmental impact.
- Make simple Do-It-Yourself crafts--like holiday cards or decorations for everyone on your list. Involve the kids, and turn shopping days into family days. Handmade gifts are more personal, and have the added benefit of lightening the packaging waste that goes along with most gifts. And tell us how you got crafty!
- Skip the stuff and give experiences. An annual pass to Georgia’s state parks is a gift that is good for an entire year, or consider gifting kayaking lessons, cooking classes or photography workshops. Check out local college continuing education centers for some fun options.
- What could be better than giving someone clean air and abundant water? A Nature Conservancy gift membership is a great way to help protect the Georgia we all love.
2. Save money on wrapping paper... Get creative with
Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, the United States creates more than 5 million extra tons of trash. That’s a lot of wrapping paper and curly ribbon.
- Instead of newly purchased wrapping paper try using newspapers and magazine pages or incorporate part of the gift into the wrapping – wrap a jar of jam in a decorative dish towel or a pair of earrings in a vintage handkerchief.
- Give gifts in re-usable grocery bags that can be used all year round.
3. Forget thawing the turkey…Keep the ingredients local!
Did you know that Georgia ranks first in the nation when it comes to the amount of pecans grown in the United States? So be sure the pecans for your pie come from our state!
- Did the food on your holiday dinner table travel farther than your guests? Focus on local and in-season foods and you’ll connect with nature as well as your family and friends.
- Growth in farmers markets over the past year topped 17%, with locations across Georgia. Find one near you.
Share your ideas and join us in celebrating Green Gift Monday. New ideas will be added throughout the season to encourage responsible, meaningful holiday celebrations. And Happy Holidays from The Nature Conservancy in Georgia!