Low Stress, Earth Friendly, Inexpensive Holidays (video)

I was on Ebru Today talking about a few ways to lessen the negative impact of our holidays on the environment.

It’s that time of year. No matter what holiday you celebrate, it is all about home, hearth, family, sharing, reflection, renewal, giving and charity . . . and being bombarded by insane marketing hype! For me bringing light into these long, cold and dark days means minimizing the commercial aspect and being more thoughtful about what I really want to share, give and how to let my close ones know how much I appreciate them. I’d say momma earth deserves a little appreciation as well, but we seem to be hardest on her during the few weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years . . .

According to the EPA in the time between turkey and Auld Lang Syne, we here in the U.S. produce a whopping 25% more domestic waste than the rest of the year, which translates to over 1 million TONS of extra crap going into landfills every week!

Here are some things to think about when you are considering gift-giving during the holidays – or any days!

According to the Center for a New American Dream,
70% of Americans would welcome less emphasis on gift giving and spending

  • Make it and wrap it yourself - 1/4 – 1/3 of all domestic waste is packaging. The estimated waste from gift-wrap and shopping bags in the U.S. is about 4 million tons (fun, easy DIY gift ideas below)
  • Remember to use your own bagsRemember to bring your reusable bags for holiday gift shopping, and tell helpful cashiers that you don’t need one for very small or oversized items
  • Send an eCard – The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high, and while we’re still into math, if we each sent one less card, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper – that’s a lot of trees folks! My favorite place to send free ecards from is Care2.com – send free cards and do good while you’re at it!
  • Wrap it with something useful, recycled, or repurposedHalf of the paper America consumes is used to wrap and decorate consumer products. I like using new dishtowels or cloth napkins, but here are some other fun ideas we came up with – 13 Ways to Wrap Cheap, Have Fun & Save Money
  • When buying a gift, consider it’s lifecycle and footprintAsk yourself a few questions like: What is the item made of – is it made from recycled materials? Where does it come from – has it traveled very far? It is recyclable or will it sit in a landfill for an extended period of time after its current use? It is durable? Can it be used more than once?

10 Easy DIY Gift Ideas for the Non-Crafty Green Diva (which includes the link to instructions for my teacup candle shown in the Ebru Today segment)

Green Diva Mizar’s DIY decorated upcycled  glass tea light holders (at the bottom of the 12.6.12 GD radio show post)



Warren Webber
Warren W3 years ago

Live long and prosper!

Val M.
Val M4 years ago


Laurel Fredberg
Laurel Fredberg4 years ago

I like to use fabric for giftwrap. It's fun and pretty and also reusable!

Karin J.
Karin J4 years ago

paper cards or letters seem more personal to me than an e-card, but to see the amount of them paper cards all summed up really lets me want to save some trees.

Judy Adams
Judy Adams5 years ago

Ok, so most of the winter holidays are over. We still have Valentine's Day coming up,as well as birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
Here's a cool link for green giftwap... It's a Furoshiki diagram, posted by Green Mom in the Burbs.

Chart is here

Sarah M.
Sarah M5 years ago


Monica D.
Monica D5 years ago

.. and holiday close to home if possible - staying local reduces oil use and CO2 emissions.

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi A5 years ago

Traditionally, gifts were wrapped in plain brown paper and ribboned with string. No one ever thought it as a lesser gift. Simplicity is best. It the commercialization that is force fed to children to expect more and greater and prettier packaging and better gifts on a yearly basis and the foolish parents who feel pressured to comply to keep up with the Jone's. The only winners are the companies selling this crap. The children lose because they develop a false sense of entitlement without input of effort and the parents lose in terms of cost all round-their children's and their pocket book.

Sheri J.
Sheri J5 years ago

we made a gift bag out of a brown grocery paper bag. and we cut out pictures from a coloring book and pasted them on a gift bag. since it was for a child's birthday, his mother thought it was very cute.

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B5 years ago

good info...thanks