Sustainable Tips for an Eco-Friendly Home This Holiday Season

Practicing sustainability in your home doesn't have to take a pause during the holiday season. Learn how you can have a sustainable holiday with these eco-friendly holiday tips!

Published on
November 1, 2023
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Sustainable Tips for an Eco-Friendly Home This Holiday Season


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As winter draws near, Bridge Homes extends warm season's greetings to you! While the holiday season is fast approaching, sustainability is sometimes overlooked, but it doesn't have to be. You can maintain your cherished holiday traditions while also embracing eco-friendly practices, from using sustainable holiday decorations to adopting environmentally-conscious gift wrapping techniques.

By making slight adjustments to your holiday traditions, you can reduce your environmental footprint while preserving those cherished customs and even create new holiday memories and traditions. Let's delve into ways to enhance the sustainability of your holiday season this year, all while relishing quality moments with your loved ones:

Sustainable tips for a holiday feast

Arguably one of the most cherished aspects of the season, apart from quality holiday time with your loved ones, are the shared holiday feasts. Food has a unique ability to unite us, and there's no better way to foster togetherness than through a delectable meal prepared and served with a focus on sustainable practices. As you get ready to whip up those beloved holiday dishes, think about procuring your ingredients from nearby farmers.

Just when you thought those delectable meals couldn't get any more delicious, acquiring fresh produce and meat from local farmers committed to sustainable agriculture will introduce an extra layer of freshness and flavor to your renowned holiday recipes. Beyond the culinary benefits, sustainable agriculture not only benefits the environment but also contributes to the well-being of your local businesses and community. It's a much more environmentally friendly and healthier alternative to factory-farmed produce and meat, which often travel great distances from the other side of the country (Weeden, 2022).

If obtaining ingredients from local farmers isn't an option in your area, you can explore the labels on produce and meat at your local grocery store and opt for items that have been grown nearest to your location (Department of Environmental Conservation, n.d.). Furthermore, to take your eco-friendly holiday season to the next level, consider experimenting with a vegetarian or plant-based holiday feast this year.

Aside from sourcing sustainable ingredients, there are also a few eco-friendly planning and cooking practices you can use in the kitchen this holiday season and all year round. The initial step to consider is meticulously planning your menu and determining the necessary quantity of food (Department of Environmental Conservation, n.d.). This will minimize food waste and eliminate the chances of a last-minute trip to the store for the one ingredient you might have forgotten. 

To minimize your environmental impact, avoid buying individually packaged drinks, opt for reusable dishes when serving guests, and encourage guests to bring reusable containers for taking home leftovers. Whenever possible, cook multiple dishes in the same cooking appliance, and run your dishwasher only when it's at full capacity to save on energy and water consumption. In addition, to reduce food waste, consider donating any leftover food to a local food bank in your area and compost any uneaten or donated food (Department of Environmental Conservation, n.d.).

Eco-friendly tips for holiday gift wrapping

Exchanging gifts with our loved ones is a cherished holiday tradition, but it often results in a surplus of waste when the festivities wind down. Many of us have nostalgic memories of being surrounded by heaps of gift wrap that eventually find their way into the trash bin.

While gift wrapping adds a festive touch to your home, it's worth noting that the majority of mass-produced wrapping paper and gift bags are printed with unsustainable inks and coated with non-recyclable shiny foils (Weeden, 2022). Instead of resorting to non-recyclable wrapping, you can unleash your creativity by using household materials like recyclable paper bags or repurposing decorative fabrics such as bandannas, scarves, and dish towels. For an extra personal touch, consider using recyclable paper strips, fabric, or twine for bows, and enhance your gift presentation with pinecones and pressed flowers and leaves (Weeden, 2022).

Once the gift has been unwrapped, you have the option to either reuse or recycle the materials. You might be pleasantly surprised by how stunning and eco-friendly gift wrapping can be with a touch of creativity. However, if reusing or recycling isn't feasible, consider using store-bought gift bags instead of traditional wrapping paper. These bags can be repurposed by the recipient or returned to be used again on another occasion.

Another ingenious approach is to incorporate the wrapping into the gift itself. For instance, if you're gifting gardening supplies, place them inside a decorative gardening pot adorned with a bow, or use a bowl or pot in a similar manner for a cooking-themed gift (Department of Environmental Conservation, n.d.). This way, you not only eliminate waste but also spare the recipient the hassle of finding ways to repurpose gift wrapping. 

Sustainable tips for holiday gift ideas

Selecting the right type of gift with the environment in mind is a crucial part of sustainable holiday practices. To make environmentally-conscious gift choices, consider beginning with shopping from small, local businesses (Weeden, 2022). This approach reduces the carbon footprint associated with shipping and alleviates the burden on delivery workers. Moreover, when you choose gifts from small, local businesses, the recipient will receive a unique and one-of-a-kind present, adding an extra special touch to your holiday giving.

If you’re gift shopping online, take the time to research small businesses with eco-friendly packaging and practices, or those that give back to the environment with every purchase. Some businesses will donate a portion of their sales to charities or partner with another organization to plant a tree with every purchase. When it comes to stocking stuffers, it's best to steer clear of including small, plastic items just for the sake of filling up the stocking. Instead, opt for homemade treats, candy, and small, quality gifts that were thoughtfully chosen or made (Weeden, 2022).

Handmade gifts hold a unique charm for both the giver and the recipient, and they are an eco-friendly gift choice. Consider crafting homemade items such as candles, food, body care products, jewelry, holiday ornaments, cards, and more (Weeden, 2022). If you’re the creative type, the sky's the limit in what type of personalized, homemade gifts you can create for your loved ones. Gifts that promote sustainable practices, like a cookbook for leftovers or a reusable carry-out container, make excellent choices for individuals engaged in environmentally-conscious behaviors. They can also serve as an inspiring introduction to sustainability for others (Department of Environmental Conservation, n.d.).

The most sustainable gift options are often the non-material ones, like giving the gift of a paid experience. This might entail tickets to a show or concert, a membership, music lessons, and more (Weeden, 2022). E-gift cards offer a great alternative to traditional plastic gift cards, reducing one-time plastic waste. Additionally, gifting ebooks can help reduce paper consumption and free up space in the recipient's home. You can also organize a gift swap of items that are already owned by your friends and loved ones to avoid the pressure and consumption of purchasing a new product (Weeden, 2022). 

Eco-friendly tips for sustainable holiday decorations

Holiday decorations can add a delightful touch to the festive season, but it's important to be mindful of their eco-friendliness. If you include a tree in your holiday décor, there are a couple of ways to make your decorations more sustainable.

First, choosing a real tree for indoor use instead of an artificial one reduces the consumption of non-recyclable materials, which would otherwise end up in a landfill once they've served their purpose. Moreover, artificial trees can take centuries to decompose (Weeden, 2022).

Look for a tree farm that avoids using chemical pesticides or colorants and actively engages in sustainable farming practices. Sustainable tree farms often have practices such as planting more trees than they cut down, only cutting trees that have already been purchased, and employing selective cutting techniques in patches to ensure the health of the forests (Weeden, 2022).

For the most environmentally friendly option, consider potted trees with a root ball that are native to your area. These trees can be replanted once their use as decoration has passed, further reducing environmental impact (Department of Environmental Conservation, n.d.).

Once the holiday season is over, if you don’t have a potted tree your best course of action is to locate a place that accepts trees for recycling. This ensures that your tree will be repurposed and not end up in a landfill, contributing to a more sustainable approach to post-holiday cleanup. These trees can then be turned into wood chips and mulch, or be donated to an environmental project (Weeden, 2022). If a real tree is not an available option, take extra care of your artificial tree to extend its longevity. Artificial trees can also be sold, donated, or passed down to other family members if kept in good condition. 

Creating your own holiday ornaments is a wonderful way to add a personal and sustainable touch to your decorations. You can tap into the wealth of online guides for crafting handmade ornaments and even incorporate mementos or keepsakes to make them extra special (Weeden, 2022). This creative process can also be a fun and memorable activity to share with your loved ones during the holiday season.

For a more sustainable approach to holiday decorations, opt for natural elements native to your area instead of plastic ornaments and tinsel. Nature offers a diverse range of materials that can be used for eco-friendly holiday décor, including fruits, pinecones, tree branches, flowers, herbs, bark, twigs, and more (Department of Environmental Conservation, n.d.). A creative way to integrate these natural elements into your decorations is by drying orange slices and stringing them on twine to be hung or wrapped around the tree, adding a delightful and environmentally-friendly touch to your holiday decor.

Holiday cards, while often cherished, can sometimes lead to clutter or end up being discarded. To avoid unnecessary waste and keep these tokens of love in the spotlight, consider integrating them into your holiday decorations. Place your favorite holiday cards into photo frames, allowing them to serve as an integral part of your holiday decor, displayed for all to appreciate. This not only reduces clutter but also adds a personal touch to your festive ambiance. You can also send recyclable holiday cards or e-cards to your loved ones for the holidays instead to minimize unnecessary clutter and waste (Weeden, 2022).

When it comes to holiday lighting, opting for LED lights is a smart choice. They not only save you money but also consume approximately 90% less energy than traditional lights. LED lights produce less heat, which extends their lifespan, reducing the frequency of replacements. Additionally, you can set some lights on a timer, but for those that don't have this feature, you can use a timer on your phone or clock to remind you when to turn them off, ensuring a more energy-efficient and eco-friendly approach (Weeden, 2022).

If you have old holiday lights that need disposal, consider participating in holiday light exchange programs or take them to a local dealer that collects scrap metal. It's important to research and confirm what your local recycling facilities accept beforehand, as holiday lights typically can't be recycled through your standard home recycling methods. Properly disposing of old lights through these channels helps reduce waste and supports recycling efforts. If you want to go the extra step and go light-free this year, use candles around your home to create a cozy environment with holiday cheer. Just make sure to practice fire safety when lighting candles in your home (Department of Environmental Conservation, n.d.).

The holiday season is indeed filled with joy and merriment, but it's equally important to be mindful of the sustainability of our traditions. Take a moment to reflect on your holiday customs and consider how you can make them more eco-friendly. You don't have to make all the changes at once; instead, gradually incorporate sustainable practices this year and in the years to come. Small steps can make a significant difference in promoting a greener and more responsible holiday season.

Bridge Homes wishes you a happy, safe, and sustainable holiday season! If you plan to move during the holiday season, don’t forget to check out our listings. Bridge Homes proudly provides quality rental properties all across the country. Visit our blog for more information on sustainability and home and garden care!



Sustainable Holidays 

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