10 tips for a green, eco-friendly Christmas

·Contributor
·4 min read
FILE PHOTO: Ruben Miraflor, 15, a survivor of Super Typhoon Haiyan, decorates a Christmas tree placed along a main street at Magallanes town in Tacloban city, central Philippines December 20, 2013. Super typhoon Haiyan reduced almost everything in its path to rubble when it swept ashore in the central Philippines on November 8, killing at least 6,069 people, leaving 1,779 missing and 4 million either homeless or with damaged homes. (Source: REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco)
FILE PHOTO: Ruben Miraflor, 15, a survivor of Super Typhoon Haiyan, decorates a Christmas tree placed along a main street at Magallanes town in Tacloban city, central Philippines December 20, 2013. Super typhoon Haiyan reduced almost everything in its path to rubble when it swept ashore in the central Philippines on November 8, killing at least 6,069 people, leaving 1,779 missing and 4 million either homeless or with damaged homes. (Source: REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco)

Because of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) this year, we are all reminded of the importance of making every effort we can to be more sustainable – and for many of us, that begins at home. Our environmental footprint can be reduced by making small adjustments in our lifestyle, especially during the holiday season, when there is a lot of trash, overconsumption and mass purchasing.

We've put together a list of 10 easy tips for an eco-friendly holiday, from making Christmas cards to lessening food wastage. 

As a time of traditions, it's high time we start a new family tradition of being green this Christmas.

1. Find alternatives to plastic Christmas trees

If you're looking for a more environmentally responsible alternative to a plastic Christmas tree, try wooden trees instead of plastic trees. 

2. Use sustainable gift wrappers

While a lot of people repurpose old gift wrappers, most don't realize that foil, glitter, and other non-recyclable materials can still be found in these. The scrunch test will tell us if our wrapping paper is recyclable or not. Scrunch up the wrapper and let go, if it unfolds on its own, it probably has non-recyclable materials.

Recycled wrapping paper or colorful fabric squares can be used to wrap gifts instead, and they can be reused over and over again. Feeling creative? Go for a reusable tampipi or bayong!

3. Make your own Christmas cards using recycled materials

FILE PHOTO: The child makes a greeting card Christmas paper collage. Made with his own hands. Children's art project craft for kids. (Source: Getty Creative)
FILE PHOTO: The child makes a greeting card Christmas paper collage. Made with his own hands. Children's art project craft for kids. (Source: Getty Creative)

This is a great way to save money and bond with your family as well. Plus, a personal touch on gifts is always appreciated.

4. Lessen your food waste

An Asian family is indoors having dinner together on Christmas day. There is lots of traditional Christmas food on the table. The father is putting stuffing on his son's plate.
FILE PHOTO: A FIlipino family is indoors having dinner together on Christmas day. There is lots of traditional Christmas food on the table. (Source: Getty Creative)

When Christmas comes, Filipinos tend to be a little more excessive when it comes to food, leaving us with endless leftovers that sometimes turn to waste.

One simple option to lessen food waste is to cook less. Be sure to prepare food that is just enough for you and your guests.

5. Patronize green and local producers

Use the holiday season's gastronomic extravaganza as an opportunity to show your support for local farmers and small-scale organic producers.

6. Get plastic-free or certified "green" gifts for your loved ones

Make sure you’re buying from eco-friendly shops. Here are a few Philippine brands that carry sustainable products.

7. Switch to LED Christmas lights

FILE PHOTO: Christmas lights with bokeh. White garlands close-up (Source: Getty Creative)
FILE PHOTO: Christmas lights with bokeh. White garlands close-up (Source: Getty Creative)

LED lights consume up to 80 percent less energy than typical sparkling incandescent lights.

Don’t forget to turn off your Christmas lights before going to sleep. You'll not only save the environment, but you'll also save money on your utility costs.

8. Reuse and repurpose decorations

FILE PHOTO: Packing Christmas decorations in January (Source: Getty Creative)
FILE PHOTO: Packing Christmas decorations in January (Source: Getty Creative)

Your family’s old Christmas decorations can be passed down from one generation to the next—making them sustainable and adding to their sentimental value. Don’t even think about buying new ones, you can always repurpose and upcycle if they get worn out or fall out of style.

9. Don’t splurge on new clothes

Resist the urge to splurge on new clothes, or if you feel the need to revamp your wardrobe, opt for used clothes from thrift shops and garage sales or brands that carry sustainable fashion. 

You can also try joining clothes-swapping events. 

10. Declutter and donate for a fresh start for the new year

FILE PHOTO: Donation box. Photo taken in Warsaw, Poland (Source: Getty Creative)
FILE PHOTO: Donation box. Photo taken in Warsaw, Poland (Source: Getty Creative)

Throughout the holiday season, take a closer look at everything and see if you’re holding on to anything that you don’t need anymore. Downsize and declutter to live a more liberating life. Then head on to charities to donate clothes and other things that you don’t use anymore. Remember, one man’s trash can be another’s treasure.

Remember the true meaning of the season

The holidays are a great time to reflect on what really matters to you and your family. Is it the presents, the décor, the food, or the glitzy outfits or spending time with loved ones, reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new one?

Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.

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