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How To Fix Christmas: Minimal Waste Celebrations

Here are a few ideas on how to enjoy the holidays with minimal impact.

For a few years now, my family has switched up our approach to Christmas. This is not a completely zero waste post I have to say; these are just a few simple ideas that have allowed us to reduce our impact and honestly enjoy a much less stressful holiday season.

1. Instead of buying gifts for everyone in the family, we go SECRET SANTA style. We use drawnames.com to randomly select one person for whom we will buy $75 worth of gifts. We know what they need/want from a wishlist that everyone sends out, so no one gets something that will just take up space in their house. We're still for the most part getting "things", and "things" often times come with excess waste. However, we've significantly diminished our impact and reduced the stress of finding everyone something that they'll like by going about presents in this way. Plus there's the added fun of trying to guess who has you!

2. For as long as I can remember we've REUSED GIFT WRAPPINGS, or used UP-CYCLED PAPER (ei. newspaper) to wrap our gifts. Getting creative with wrappings makes them all the more beautiful. I think this year I'm going to try using some old, pretty CLOTH TO WRAP, so that it's completely waste-free.

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3. Every year my aunt, who lives in Oregon, has shipped goodies to all of her brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces across the country. This included her homemade zucchini bread, spiced nuts, homemade Kahlua, and presents picked out for each person. This year she sent everyone a message saying that instead of doing this, she's going to make the same treats and DONATE them to a local homeless shelter. The money that she would have budgeted for gifts for the family is going to all be donated as well. How kick-ass is that? What if everyone took the money that they were going to spend on material gifts and donated it instead? To me that feels far more in the "spirit of giving" than a traditional Christmas. I know for my family, with our $75 per person budget that would be $525 donated. That inspired me to ask for part of my gift to be donated to Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, and the other part to be an experience rather than an object. Who knows, maybe next year we'll do Secret Santa completely donation style!

What changes are you going to make this holiday season?

Let me know in the comments below and happy holidays!