The holidays are a time for food, fun, and family. But hardly anybody ever mentions all the food that’s going to be wasted, the garbage that everyone is going to leave after opening all their gifts, and the crazy electricity bills that will appear the following month thanks to hosting a Griswold Family-like Christmas shindig.
Celebrating the holidays doesn’t have to mean wasting more food, creating more garbage, or using more energy. As yogis, we should all aspire to making each and every holiday season more eco-friendly than the last.
Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you shop, wrap, decorate, cook, bake, entertain, and do all that you plan to do this holiday season!
1. Decorate your home with natural items. Instead of purchasing decorations made of plastic that contain potentially harmful chemicals and toxins, make your own from things you can find outdoors like real pine cones, evergreen branches, pieces of driftwood, and river stones.
2. Use recyclable, brown paper for wrapping. Brown paper packaging looks super classy with some nice red ribbon and maybe some stencil designs! Ask for it back after your gift recipients unwrap their gifts so you can recycle it, or leave a note in the card encouraging them to recycle it themselves!
3. Switch all your inefficient holiday lights to LED lights. When it comes to light bulb efficiency, definitely go with LEDs. This goes for everything from the tiny ones you string all over your Christmas tree to the ones you showcase on the exterior of your home.
4. Use timers for all your holiday lights and electrical decorations. Save on your electricity by setting timers up to turn everything on a little later than usual and off a little earlier than usual.
5. Use rechargeable batteries. Whether you’ve got some high-tech Christmas decoration to show off or a cool battery-operated gift to give, don’t contribute to the environmental nightmare caused by disposable batteries. It’s worth investing the extra money for rechargeable ones.
6. Give experiences rather than physical gifts. A 20-year study showed that we get greater fulfillment out of experiences as opposed to things, so give the gift of a yoga class pass to your yogi friends’ favorite studio or a gift certificate for a deep tissue massage. Fewer physical gifts to wrap also means less waste!
7. Make your physical gifts as eco-friendly as possible. It wouldn’t really be the holidays without something to unwrap or open, so before you do your shopping, research items you’re thinking of purchasing to make sure they’re natural, non-toxic, recyclable, and so on. How about a Yogi Surprise box gift subscription? Our boxes always contain products that are natural, vegan/vegetarian, chemical free, and cruelty free.
8. Buy holiday foods that are in season and locally sourced. It takes less energy and less packaging to produce local goods. Here’s a list of amazing fall and winter foods to stock up on.
9. Freeze leftovers instead of tossing them. If you can’t stomach any more holiday food for the foreseeable future, store leftovers in the freezer for a week or two and take them out to defrost the night before a busy day when you know you won’t feel like cooking.
10. Do your research on eco-friendly Christmas tree disposal. Do you know where your tree ends up after you throw it out on the side of the road for neighborhood pickup? If possible, aim to recycle your used tree by bringing it to a place where it can be recycled into wood chips or something rather than leaving it to end up in a landfill.
You’ll be doing the environment and your health a big favour by following some or all of the above tips this holiday season. Even if you’re wishing for a white Christmas, you should still keep it green when it comes to eco-friendliness!