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The sustainability movement has probably incentivized you to think differently about your daily life, leading you to ask questions like: Are my clothes fair trade? Should I stop eating meat? Am I using too much water to wash the dishes?
Similar questions can arise when you make travel plans: Should we fly or take a road trip? Should we go out to dinner, or prepare a meal ourselves?
As we approach this unique, more isolated holiday season, there are many ways to make it more enjoyable and sustainable. And as we start to think differently about what clothes we buy and what food we eat, now is a great time to start new holiday traditions.
If you’re a little late to the game this year, you may still be looking for good gift ideas. But before you pull out your credit card or open a new tab for Amazon, take a minute to consider your first gift option: create something. We are so quick to spend money for our loved ones, but we often overspend due to the false assumption that more money spent is more love given. So, maybe make the most of one of those artsy hobbies you’ve taken on while you’ve been cooped up at home in quarantine. Paint a landscape or print one of your best photos of nature. If you have a hard time getting creative and you would rather buy something, consider buying something less materialistic. Most of your peers will probably recognize their need for a new jacket and take the time to research a quality, well-priced item that best suits their interests. You’re probably better off buying them something that really conveys your personal care. And when you make your purchase, try to buy from local businesses and companies that value sustainability.
If you are celebrating Christmas, Santa doesn’t come until Christmas Eve, so you probably have more time to wrap those gifts. When you do wrap them, you should consider a few sustainable and cheap options. First, my personal favorite: gift bags. It doesn’t get easier than putting your gift in a reusable gift bag and stuffing it with some colorful tissue paper. If your gift doesn’t fit in a bag or is better off being wrapped, you can use reusable fabric wrap and string. Another easy trick for wrapping, is using old maps. Dig up those old California maps from your roadtrip three summers ago, and use the paper as a nice wrapping paper.
No matter what you’re celebrating, you’re almost certainly making plans to prepare a special dinner. If you celebrated Thanksgiving, hopefully you had a chance to try some vegetarian or vegan options like “tofurky” that you can incorporate into your holiday meal. Similar to buying gifts, it is best to support your local economy, so try to buy produce from local farmers. You may be surprised by how the price compares to the grocery store.
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