"It's the most wonderful time of the year!"
- sang Andy Williams, but I guess nobody told him about all the stress that surrounds prepping for this time of year. Especially when you're trying to make your holiday celebrations as eco-friendly as possible. Don't worry though, I'm bringing you a comprehensive Holiday Guide to help get you through all your troubles. From eco-friendly gift ideas to zero-waste decorations - Here are my top 10 tips on how to make your holiday season as sustainable as possible. So without further ado your Jas It Up Sustainable Holiday Guide!
1. Shop Early
Shopping early helps you to avoid paying for express shipping which usually equates to air travel. Ground shipping uses less emissions and therefore limits your impact on the environment. So don’t wait last minute - save money and save the planet!
2. Fake Trees > Real Trees
This topic is heavily debated so why not join the hot seat. I mean who doesn’t love the smell of a fresh Christmas Tree sitting in their living room? I know I do, but there are consequences to chopping a real tree from its roots. This year I'm leaning towards fake trees. While they're made from plastics that often can't be recycled, they can last a lifetime and definitely reduce your impact on the environment over the years.
3. Ditch Your Wrapping Paper!
Did you know that most traditional wrapping paper can’t be recycled? It’s because most of it contains a metallic layer that prevents it from being capable of being recycled. There are many great alternatives such as brown paper and twine or even newspaper - both that can be recycled, or better yet you can move to zero waste gift wrapping and use handkerchiefs and napkins for small gifts and reusable totes as gift bags.
4. Shop Small
Most small businesses already operate using very ethical and sustainable practices and you can bet their products are made with love and care. This holiday season is a perfect time to support your local small business to give them that same love and care that they deserve as staples in our communities!
5. DIY Gifts
DYI gifts are a great eco-friendly option! Some of my favorites are homemade candles, ornaments, bath bombs, and scrapbooks. So tap into your creative side and give the most unique and thoughtful gifts of all to your loved ones!
6. Shop Secondhand
To all my Seattle family - Macklemore was right - thrifting is "f***ing awesome"! Not only is thrift shopping awesome its one of the most eco-friendly gift shopping options. You're repurposing items and preventing them from being disposed of and limiting the need for further resources to be used to create new items. It's a WIN-WIN!
Contrary to popular belief, there is no shame in regifting items you no longer have use for. This is a great way to limit your waste and to salvage items that no longer serve a purpose for you. Whether it’s gifting an old appliance to a friend who’s looking to furnish a new place, passing off a completed book to a fellow bookworm, or passing down lightly worn clothing items to younger siblings, friends or others in need - regifting is a great way to make your holiday season more sustainable.
Sustainability is just as much about social equity as it is about environmental protection. That's why deciding to donate to a charitable cause is a great idea for a sustainable gift. One initiative that I love is the USPS's Operation Santa. You can read letters from children in need and sponsor them by buying gifts from their Santa wishlist, and shipping them out for Christmas via the USPS. To learn more about this initiative click here.
9. White Elephant Clothing Swaps
Everyone knows the age old tradition of Holiday Grab Bags - more commonly known as White Elephant, but here's a fun little twist on it. Instead of going out and buying small item gifts that people will barely use and then throw away you can take some of your old clothes that still have tags on them, or the items you realized weren't quite your style once they finally arrived in the mail, and do a fun clothing swap. Worried about people who wear different sizes and identify as different genders? No worries this idea works great with gender and size inclusive items like hats, bags, scarves and gloves too!
10. Shop Sustainable
Last but certainly not least is shop sustainable brands like my very own Jas It Up! There are plenty of brands committing to amazing causes to help elevate people and protect the planet, and if you're looking for more options beyond our apparel check out BLK + GRN - an amazing market place full of BIPOC sustainable brands!
*Bonus Travel Tips*
Avoid travelling if possible! The CDC has recommended against non-essential travelling at this time due to the current increase in the number of daily positive COVID-19 cases across the country. If you must travel please be sure to make a travel plan ahead of time. Many states have included strict travel protocols some even mandating negative COVID tests before entering the state so be sure to do you research and prepare accordingly. And don't forget - Wear a Mask, Wash your Hands, and Socially Distance as often as possible!