Tips for Sustainable Holiday Season

Blog Contributor: Mikellena Nettos

It’s that time of year again – time to shop until you drop for the people that you love! Unfortunately, the holidays generate a lot of waste from unused gifts, to wrapping paper that you cannot recycle, to having lights on 24/7. So, how can you celebrate the holiday season sustainably? Well, here are some tips on how to be more sustainable during this holiday season:  

  • Choose a gift that will last for years to come instead of single use items or clothes that can go in and out of fashion quickly.  
  • Shop local and support small businesses –  most small businesses have smaller carbon footprints and therefore are more sustainable.  
  • Handmake/regift instead of buying new items – thoughtful gifts often time have the most impact. 
  • Use sustainable wrapping paper like brown papermaterial, or even newspaper! It’s a great way to save money and the planet at the same time. You can add red yarn to tie it up for a more holiday feel.
  • Handcraft the decorations you can – knitting stockings or making your own wreath can be a fun way to spend time together while caring for the planet and saving money.  
  • Reuse tree decorations year after year instead of buying new ones. 
  • Use a real holiday tree (and compost it after use) to avoid plastic trees that take years to break down or decorate a house plant! 
Holiday Cards 
  • E-cards are a sustainable way to spread holiday. 
  • Handcrafted cards are a great alternative to buying cards that are not recyclable. It also adds a touch of personality to show your loved ones how much they really mean to you.  
  • Try using sustainably sourced food when deciding what to cook for holiday dinners. 
  • Cut down on the meat options, to reduce your carbon footprint, instead of having a turkey, ham, and meatloaf. 
  • Cut food waste – avoid overcooking if you can. Additionally, you can use leftovers to create new meals instead of tossing them in the compost.  
  • Switch to LED lights this holiday to cut down on energy usage for the lights. 
  • Additionally, use a holiday light timer to avoid having to remember to turn the lights off and on constantly. 

Good luck on your exams and have a safe holiday, Badgers! If you are going home for the holidays, don’t forget to self-isolate for 2 weeks prior to avoid the spreading of COVID. While this holiday season may be different than the ones prior, try and enjoy this time with your loved ones. See you all (virtually) January 11th for the start of winter term! Happy Holidays!  


Cornish, N. (2019, December 8). 17 tips for a more sustainable Christmas this year. House Beautiful. 

Cowan, S. (n.d.). How to Have a ‘Green’ ChristmasEartheasy Guides & Articles. Retrieved December 14, 2020, from