How to Be Sustainably-Focused During the Holiday Season
Archway has teamed up with McMaster’s Academic Sustainability Programs Office to share sustainable ways to decorate, give gifts and create memories over the holidays.
The holidays are almost here and as you think about how to decorate and what to get your friends and family, think green!
Archway has teamed up with McMaster’s Academic Sustainability Programs Office to share sustainable ways to decorate, give gifts and create memories over the holidays, even in a virtual setting.
“The Holidays are a great time to connect with friends and family members, but this time of year can also be financially and environmentally burdensome,” says Abbie Little, Community Relations Coordinator at the Academic Sustainability Programs Office. “With COVID-19 impacting the way we shop, it’s important to consider what, where, why, and how we are buying gifts and decorations.”
Here are 10 ways you can do your part to make this a more sustainable holiday season.
- Support local and reduce waste
If you are choosing between gifts to give, it is more important than ever to be mindful of the businesses we are supporting. Support the local economy by buying from local shops or shops in Canada that ship and manufacture goods with compostable shipping materials or have low impact shipping. This could be a more eco-friendly choice than purchasing from large box stores.
It’s important to note that sustainability does not exist in a vacuum; climate justice means social justice and so our buying habits should also aim to support BIPOC communities!
Black and Indigenous business directories:
- Shopify has been highlighted as a platform that makes the search process for BIPOC businesses simple.
- Search the Indigenous Business Directory on the Government of Canada website.
A comprehensive list of black-owned businesses in Hamilton is available at urbanicity.com.
- Check out the Instagram page @blkownedhamont for local black-owned businesses.
2. Give e-gift cards or subscriptions
E-gift cards or subscriptions to digital cooking magazines, music or television streaming services are also gifts to give with no wrapping required.
3. Gift someone an experience
Experiential gifts allow you to spend time with family and friends in new ways, even amidst closures. Many cooking, music, dance, and personal trainer classes are now online, which may reduce your carbon footprint if you would normally take transportation.
4. Use upcycled décor
“Why not get crafty and think outside the box when giving gifts this year, it can also be safer since you can make and do a lot in your home,” says Abbie Little.
Pinecones or dried oranges can be used to make earth-friendly decorations, such as compostable garlands or tree ornaments. You can even compost the string you use to hang up the ornament or garland by getting natural fiber string, such as cotton, or save it for next year.
5. Virtually eat together waste-free
Have a virtual baking or cooking party and eat together using products from local waste-free markets. Around Hamilton, at places like the Dundurn Market, you can buy waste-free ingredients to build your own recipe gift kit for your foodie friends. You can even save your pasta jars and store the dry ingredients for cookies or soup in them to gift to your friends.
6. Decorate or create gifts with DIY projects
A bird feeder or candles are DIY (do it yourself) projects that can be created with locally sourced products and can be used as decorations or as a gift that has a personal touch. Etsy is a great place to start for many of these DIY projects and you would be supporting small businesses.
7. Zoom through crafts with your friends
Send a box to your friend from a market or through Etsy to do a craft together virtually. The gift box could include:
- A crochet or knitting kit
- Ornament decoration kit
- Pottery painting
8. Get outside
Not all gifts need to be costly. Take a waterfall tour or nature walk with a friend or family member and remind yourselves that you are there for one another. Sometimes the most valuable gift you can give someone is your time.
9. Wrap, reuse, repeat
Place your gifts in a tote bag that the recipient can use for trips to the grocery store or use hand towels to act as wrapping. This way, even the wrapping is a gift!
10. Measure the sustainability of your gift ideas
The Good On You app/website allows you to type in different brands and it will give you a rating about how sustainable it is, along with more sustainable options.
Get Sustainable Tips Year-Round
Do you want more information from other McMaster Campus Partners around how you can be more sustainably conscious? Follow the McMaster Student Sustainability Ambassador Program SSAP Facebook page or check out the Academic Sustainability Programs course offerings.
Related: Check out the @archwaymcmaster Instagram for a Holiday Wellness Guide.Blog