I LIVE for the holiday season. I absolutely love it. The lights, food, laughter, music, gift giving, and celebration are all things I look forward to each year. And I'm guessing I am not alone when I say I cannot wait to celebrate every small joy this year - we deserve it! But how can we live this holiday season to the fullest while still finding ways to honor our environment? It is absolutely possible my friend, trust me.
Use this guide to help you shift your mindset when it comes to preparing for the Holiday season.
Shift Your Mindset Around Gift Giving
When it comes to giving sustainable gifts, a huge problem lies in our mindset around shopping and consumption in general. Our consumer driven culture encourages us to “buy, buy, buy” during the holiday season. More and more, we are also being inundated with messages of product scarcity which only fuel impulse buying and overspending. The act of gift giving becomes overwhelming very quickly, and we find ourselves buying gifts simply to check a name off of our list rather than making a connection to the recipient. When this happens it’s likely that the recipient will not keep or use the item, and the gift will end up in the garbage. This not only increases the already excessive amounts of garbage in the landfill, it’s a huge waste of money!
Tips for Eco-Friendly Gifts:
- Gift experiences.
- Create gift sets out of eco-friendly versions of everyday essentials. They make cute gifts, and they’ll actually get used!
- Make a donation in honor of a loved one.
- Are you crafty? Consider DIY gifts for your loved ones.
- Give gift cards, or better yet - DIGITAL (no plastic!) gift cards!
Decorating for the Holidays
Choose alternative gift wrap. Traditional gift wrap is a single-use product, and a majority of wrapping paper on the market is not recyclable. Reusable gift bags and wrap enhance the gifts you give, because they become a gift themselves! Kraft paper, newspaper, with twine and dried flowers or fruit to adorn the paper make for a stunning presentation. (P.S. Sliced oranges are GORGEOUS!)
Choose natural candles. Ditch petroleum-based candles, and opt for 100% natural and plant-based candles that use premium soy, coconut, or beeswax. Avoid candles that use “fragrance,” choosing candle and incense that use pure essential oils instead. They are not only more eco-friendly, they are healthier for you and your family.
Focus on quality rather than quantity when it comes to selecting both decorations and gifts this holiday season. Relinquish a disposable mindset and invest in items that are made to last.
Embrace your Holiday style. Before you purchase holiday decorations, ask yourself, “can I envision using this item year after year?” If you have to think too hard about it or it’s a hard no, leave it on the shelf so it doesn’t end up in the landfill next year.
Choose LED lights to set the mood for your twinkle lights, illuminated figures, and flameless candles.
Real or artificial tree - which is the more sustainable option? Well, it depends. If you’re not interested in a long-term commitment, a real tree is going to be the more sustainable option. Buy from a local farm to reduce the carbon footprint caused by transport. You may also consider a container tree that can be re-planted! If you can envision using an artificial tree for 10+ years, this could be the best option for you. Better yet, buy a second-hand artificial tree! My first Christmas tree was handed down to me from my mother who purchased it for her first apartment in 1981. My family and I still use this little tree in our basement, and it gave me the confidence to be sure we’d use a larger artificial tree upstairs for many years to come.
Think Local When It Comes to Food
Limit food waste over the Holiday season by planning dishes you can portion and freeze. Additionally, plan leftovers into your week following the big meal to ensure they actually get eaten instead of getting lost in the back of the refrigerator.
Buy locally and organically if possible. Your local Food Co-Op and farmers markets will have an amazing selection of locally produced meat products, produce, and baked goods available at typically very reasonable prices.
Ditch disposable dinnerware. I know, I know, no one loves doing the dishes. Consider cranking your favorite Christmas tunes and lighting a festive candle mentioned above to make doing the dishes fun. You’ll create less waste AND save money in the long run.
And a Reminder
Above all, remember that sustainability isn’t black and white - there’s A LOT of grey. Make the best decisions for YOU as you’re able to make them. Choice is a privilege that isn’t always available to us all of the time. Small changes do matter, friend!
Hi, I'm Sara!
If you are new around these parts, let me first say welcome! I am so happy you are here. Secondly, you may be wondering who exactly is Terra Shepherd. Terra Shepherd is actually not a person - it is a business name, a place, a way of thinking, and a community.
It is my goal to connect you with your clothing on a deeper level than you likely ever have by telling the stories of the makers, fabrics, production practices, and brands I have selected to carry in the store. I hope to help you realize the incredible value of investing in garments you truly love and are excited to cherish for years to come.
This space is intended to be one in which we learn and grow together. I welcome and encourage your feedback - it will serve as my guide with this journal.
Welcome to Terra Shepherd friends.