Cinnamon scented pine cones and wreaths greet shoppers at many stores, along with light strewn evergreens and carols on a loop. We may smile but, surprisingly, it’s easy to lose our bearings when we find ourselves surrounded by all of the lovely holiday decorations, music, activity and expectations. So, if you’re looking to navigate the holidays with joy and ease (and introduce more Eco-friendly habits into the seasonal mix...yeah, at Modern Kids Design, we can’t help but think about tips on greening the holidays…lol), here are some ideas to get you started. If it's too much, choose a couple to try this year and then try to add some more in the future! Over time, your positive actions will add up and become habits, making the holidays an even more joyful (and earth-friendly) experience.
Reduce Stress with Intentional Planning
First, let’s tackle stress. Before falling down a potential holiday rabbit hole this year, set aside some time to consider what you want your holiday to look like. That's right, how do you want it to unfold? Try it. Just think about it for a bit. Visualizing what you want is a great way to help make it happen and enjoy the season to its fullest.
In fact, creating a vision of how you want to celebrate and share in the season can help you be more intentional about your actions, how you spend your time, and any gift-giving you participate in as well. Understanding this and taking the time to thoughtfully think through the holiday season can help you better manage yourself (because, after all, that is all we can really do is manage ourselves, right, lol). Similarly, knowing what you don’t want the holidays to be can help you steer clear of activities that could have a negative impact on your emotional well-being or health. Yep, it's okay to set up some healthy boundaries and just say "no" to stuff that doesn't align with what you really want. What ever you do, make sure it feels right. Be intentional.Minimize Waste
Piles of wrapping paper certainly signify Christmas morning to some extent—but they don’t have to. Using reusable gift bags or wrapping gifts with re-purposed newspapers and magazines can help cut back on some of the paper waste generated during the holiday season. For example, rather than wrapping a book, consider placing it in a cute tote bag with a ribbon. The recipient will be happy to have a tote for carrying her new tome and there will be less waste.
To cut back on “electrical” waste, switch to LED holiday lights for decorating. They use less energy and last longer.
If you don’t like the idea of tossing a tree away at the end of the season, look for a live tree you can plant once the ground thaws.
If you feel you are encountering other areas of waste, reflect on what is bothering you and see what solutions you can come up with to address those problems.
Participate in Thoughtful Gift-Giving
Too often, we buy gifts that we aren’t sure a recipient needs or will like because we feel there’s some expectation of a gift. While all those situations won’t disappear, having a plan can help remove some of the stress of those situations. Before buying another pair of slippers (which, for the record, are practical and useful), think about the kinds of items you wouldn’t mind receiving from someone. Soy candles, earth-friendly spa goods, or a restaurant gift card are all thoughtful, useful gifts. As are tickets to special events. Alternatively, if you’re a maker, consider gifting some of your own creations, whether it’s lemon ginger cookies, a knit ear warmer, or a sewn hat. Thinking ahead and planning gifts can save one of our most wasted resources: time.
Creating your holiday feast from foods grown locally and in-season produce can help minimize your carbon footprint during a season where we are using a lot of electricity and heat. Consider how much food you truly need and buy accordingly. Cut back on food waste by planning ahead and then freezing leftovers for another meal.
Enjoy Friends and Family
For many of us, while we often talk about togetherness during the holidays, we don’t always get to spend as much time together as we’d like. Sometimes, that time can be a gift in itself. Consider creating events to spend time together instead of exchanging gifts. For example, make a “date” night with your friends to check out the new farm to table restaurant together instead of doing your white elephant exchange. Alternatively, maybe there’s a tradition you want to start, like hosting a hot chocolate bar and PJs night at your house for family members. Commit to making this the year you spend more time together rather than waiting in line and create a plan to make it come true!
Don’t let the hectic nature of the holiday chill your seasonal buzz. With some intentional planning, you can create the holiday that best suits your needs and the needs of your family.
If you are curious about the picture, it was taken along the Seine in Paris. Of course, before signing off today, we'd be remiss to not recommend that you check out our holiday gift guide. So, if you are still looking for a special gift, we have something for every member of the family! As always, thanks for reading and happy holidays!