Eco-conscious celebrations: 5 tips for a truly green Christmas

It’s the most wonderfully stressful time of the year, and with all that holiday shopping and gift wrapping, it’s easy to see why it could turn into the most unintentionally wasteful time of the year as well. However, keeping it green during the holiday season is not that hard to do as a few changes here and there could drastically reduce that post-holiday waste. Here are some tips to make you feel like one of Earth’s little helpers this Christmas season.

1.       Shop wisely

Shopping Osaka Japan
Photo by Ivan Walsh (via Flickr)

Before buying a gift for someone, ask yourself this question: will the person I’m buying this gift for be able to make good use of it or will it most likely end up in the trash can? It may seem like a nice idea to give little gifts and tokens during Christmas to people you barely know, but more often than not, these little tokens often have little use for the people you give them to and will just end up gathering dust in that person’s cabinet-of-useless-and-forgotten-things. It’s much better to cut back on the shopping and just buy a few well-chosen gifts for the people you’re close to and who really mean something to you. Your gifts will not only be more meaningful and much more appreciated, your wallet will also be much more grateful.

Redesigned Milk Carton Gift Box ~ 4 of 4 photos
Photo by Mary Anne Enriquez (via Flickr)

2.       Cut back on the gift wraps

Packaging is just that – packaging. It makes your gifts look pretty, sometimes even prettier than they really are, but ultimately, they’re not that necessary and just adds to the post-holiday waste you will generate. So instead of buying all those colorful gift wrappers and ribbons and fancy gift boxes to wrap up your gifts, choose to recycle and use old gift wrappers, paper bags, magazines, or the newspapers’ colorful Sunday pages to wrap your gifts in. Just remember to iron the newspaper beforehand to prevent ink transfer. You can also use colorful cloth that can double as scarves or handkerchiefs. Choosing to recycle might even unleash your yet-unheard-of creative talent as you try to make the packaging just as pretty and festive, or perhaps even prettier and more festive, than traditional brand new gift wraps.

Traditional Japanese wrapping cloth,furoshiki,...
Traditional Japanese wrapping (Image via Wikipedia)
#31 - LED
Photo by Mike Deal (via Flickr)

3.       Go dark and natural

Houses literally light up during Christmas time, sometimes blindingly so, and electricity bills shoot up to the stratosphere as Christmas lights start blinking out of every window.  To give our natural resources a break, cut back on the lights and feel good about yourself for reducing your carbon footprint this Christmas time. If you can’t forego the lights altogether, choose LEDs to brighten up your home and turn them on only when guests are coming and only for a few hours each time. For your home decorations, choose ornaments made from recycled or Earth friendly materials and stay away from disposable plastics that you will only throw away after one use.

4.       Party like there’s still tomorrow

Cutlery - Knifes, Spoons, Forks
Photo by espensorvik (via Flickr)

It’s wonderful to have people around during the holidays as you feast on the most delicious food and drinks. What’s not so wonderful is having to clean up after everyone has gone, so it’s easy to see why a lot of people have resorted to using disposable plates and cutlery whenever they throw parties – it makes cleaning up that much easier. However, disposable items mean more post-holiday waste, which is not wonderful at all.  So when you’re planning a party, make sure that the plates, glasses, and cutlery that you will use can still be reused for next year’s party.  After all, the New Year is just a week away.

If you must go disposable, look out for compostable cutlery.

For a truly Earth-friendly feast, choose the food that you will serve to your party guests wisely. Go for sustainable and organic ingredients when preparing your dishes and buy from local suppliers as much as possible.

5.       Give experiences

Sometimes, the best gifts don’t come in boxes. Personalized coupons for a body massage, a car wash, or a movie night for your loved one will be that much more meaningful than a store-bought gift. If your child has aspirations to become a future master chef, why not enroll him or her in a cooking class? And if you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, why not take the family away on an eco-holiday vacation? Spend a few days at a green hotel like El Nido Resorts and just laze around at the beach and lie back soaking up the sun. It will be a holiday experience your family will never forget, and you can rest easy that your stay has helped the planet in some small way.

From everyone here in El Nido and the Environment Department, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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