As part of our commitment to Earth via our Laudato Si’ Action Plan, we are inviting everyone who shares in our charism to take a monthly Eco-Challenge with us.
Give Mother Earth a gift this Christmas!
How environmentally friendly is your Christmas going to be this year? Here are a few ideas to help you make interesting alternative choices. Your celebration of Christmas can be sustainable without it losing its magic!
“Christmas waste is a real and growing issue”
- Around 114,000 tons of plastic packaging will be thrown away and not recycled
- Over four million Christmas dinners are thrown away every year
- Most of us receive at least one unwanted gift each Christmas. Some will simply be thrown away—they won’t even be regifted, sold or given to charity;
- Batteries provide the power source of many beautiful lights and even presents, but they create an environmental nightmare, sending toxic or corrosive materials into landfills;
- Wrapping paper piles up, and so much of it can’t be recycled because it has glitter or foil. Every year the equivalent of 50,000 trees are used to produce Christmas wrapping paper.
Eco-Friendly Christmas Ideas
Here are some ideas to get you thinking about an eco-friendly and creative Christmas. In general: Look for quality over quantity!
Your tree and decorations
- Use a potted live Christmas tree from a local nursery or hardware store that sells plants. Potted evergreen trees come in various sizes. Decorate it with LED lights, and when Christmas is over you can nurture it in the pot for next year, plant it in your yard and decorate it each Christmas or give it to a local group who will plant it for you.
- If you want a larger tree, get a real tree and decorate it with LED lights; use homemade ornaments rather than purchasing ones that will add to the trash heaps.
- If you need to buy an artificial tree, look for a used one rather than buying new.
- Have you heard about “plantable” cards? They can double as a card and a gift!
- Reuse old Christmas cards to create your own unique ones.
- Consider the packaging when purchasing gifts and food. Look for items with as little packaging and plastic as possible.
- Shop in local stores.
- Give a potted Christmas tree as a gift. The receiver can grow it and even plant it later on.
- Opt for fabric products that are certified to be eco-friendly and toxin-free.
- Buy toys or gifts that have the least amount of plastic, and do not use batteries.
- Use your creative talents to make a gift or coupons for services you will provide.
- Offer an experience like concert tickets, a hot air balloon trip or a spa day.
- Check out our Recommended Sustainable Products webpage for eco-friendly gift ideas.
- Instead of paper, wrap gifts in reusable materials like fabric or recyclable ones like recycled wrapping paper or brown paper (especially for large packages), children’s artwork or newspaper.
- Make gift bags and tags made from old newspapers, cloth or other strong recycled material.
- Washi-tape is an eco-friendly paper-type tape to replace scotch tape. It’s available online and at most craft stores.
- Raffia, string or twine are eco-friendly replacements for colorful plastic ribbons. You can find such products at local craft and hobby stores.
- Reuse shipping materials when sending packages and avoid purchasing bubble wrap.
- Recycle as much as you can! Collectively, we can make a huge difference in the world we live in—let’s make it a joyous time for Mother Nature as well.
- Decide how to save your potted Christmas tree.
- Think about any unwanted presents. Return them, regift them, sell them, or give them to charity rather than letting them collect dust or tossing them into the trash. Remember that one person’s trash is another’s treasure!
Take the Eco-Challenge
How will you make this a more eco-friendly and creative Christmas? Choose one or more actions below.
I will make homemade, edible gifts and deliver them in re-usable food containers.
As a gift to someone, give a gift to a not-for-profit they like in their name. It has no environmental impact. It honors the person to whom you are giving a gift and it helps the not-for-profit.
I will give the gift of books that can be read, re-gifted or shared.
Thank you for all these wonderful ideas!
I donate to Heifer International and give Heifer cards to friends and family.
The few gifts that I give are wrapped in newspaper.
This year I gave fresh fruit to the few folks who are nearby. I also made my own cards, sending all but about 10 of them by electronic methods.