Holidays are a time of joy, connection and tradition. Unfortunately, they’re often excessively wasteful. Every year in December, for example, American households generate 23% more tons of waste than in other months. And it’s not just the extra trash that’s a problem. All the fossil fuels, trees and other natural resources that go into producing unnecessary plastic toys, novelty gifts and wrapping paper make the winter holidays dreary for wildlife and the habitat they need to survive.
All that extra consumption– and the resulting waste– isn’t just a problem during the winter holidays. Celebrations from birthdays to weddings and Valentine’s Day to Halloween have become increasingly extravagant and more about consuming things than the occasions and people we care about.
Simplify the Holidays is redefining holiday traditions and celebrations in ways that respect land, waters and wildlife and refocus on what really matters. When people talk about why they love the holidays, they usually describe spending time with family and friends, eating good food, having fun and relaxing.
Yet too often we feel trapped by all the shopping, spending, and frenzied preparations that accompany these celebrations. It’s time to think outside the (big) box. It’s time to celebrate holidays wrapped in more meaning and less stuff. It’s time for holidays with wildlife-friendly gifts and traditions that encourage creativity, increase connection, ease stress, save money, reduce waste and help the environment.
“ If you want to sustainably wrap gifts, there is a Japanese method called Furoshiki wrapping that reuses clothes or other fabrics to wrap your gifts. You can tie the fabric to look like a bow on top or top it with seasonal foliage like pinecones cut in half, twigs from a pine tree, or writing a personal gratitude note."
"A new community center in my parent's hometown held a fundraiser selling engraved bricks for a pathway project through their garden. For Christmas, I purchased a brick with a message inscribed to my parents. Not only did my gift support a great organization that my parents love, but now they have a fun reminder of their gift every time they stroll through the garden.
"Ask everyone to give to those who have little or nothing. Gifts of phones, Wi-Fi, cars, fuel coupons, bus passes, clothes, etc. are greatly needed in many homes. Also coupons for restaurants, ball games, concerts etc. to provide them the chance of a rare outing."