Eco-Friendly Holidays and Celebrations:
Ideas to Green Your Traditions

How to create eco-friendly holiday's, from Valentine's to New Year's, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Eco-Friendly holidays and celebrations may seem difficult: the shopping, the parties, the pressure to create perfection or uphold someone else's ideal. It can make many die-hard environmentalists fall off the wagon.

But I promise it's all in your outlook. You don't have to sacrifice your traditions or your enjoyment to be kind to the environment and have a sustainable holiday.

A holiday gives one a chance to look backward and forward;
to reset oneself by an inner compass.
~ May Sarton

The True Meaning of Eco-Friendly Holidays

Most holiday ideas stress people out. We complain of being too busy, spending too much money, and not enjoying the time we instinctively know we should be enjoying. We feel a sense of obligation to "do" or "buy". We often listen to what we feel are Have To's, instead of what our instincts tell us.

The underlying message of all eco-friendly holidays: Simplify.

Greening your holidays shouldn't only impact the environment; it should also positively impact our experiences. By simplifying what we do and how we do it, we are better able to slow down, relax and enjoy our loved ones and our celebrations.

Make Your Holiday Ideas Sustainable

A sustainable holiday is one that holds meaning to us. Whether it's a spiritual or religious belief or a family or personal tradition, we should enjoy and prioritize what is most important first.

Start by finding your focus: identifying your own sense of tradition or importance within any holiday. What matters most to you? What do you not wish to lose and what do you wish to gain?

Once you've found your focus, move from that place and examine every detail.

  • Identify Stress: Look for things that give you a sense of dread or cause you to stress. Why is it stressful? Is it necessary? If so, can you simplify it? If not, how can you eliminate it or find an alternative for it?
  • Identify Waste: Looks for and make a list of things that create wasted resources (including money, time or other things). These are the things for which you'll be seeking alternatives.
  • Involve Others: The holidays are about spending time with others. Talk to friends, family members and co-workers. Recruit your neighbors. Share ideas and work on making changes together.
  • Relax! You may not be able to make sweeping changes in one season. Decide what to tackle first: one big thing or several little things; the stressers or the wasters. Set a goal and do what you can.

Your Eco-Friendly Holidays Guide:

Below are listed the major celebrations and ways to transform them into eco-friendly holidays. I'm always working on additions to my this list, so check back often or subscribe below!

Gift Giving

How to green your gift giving

Gift giving can be a challenge. Waste becomes difficult to avoid, especially when obligation affects our decisions. Instead of a list of what to buy, learn the principles behind how to shop sustainably and apply that to all your gift giving.

Read More: Green Giving Guidelines
10 Eco-Friendly Gifts for 2013



Gift Wrapping

Fabric gift wrap

Now that you've found your perfect, sustainable gift don't waste your eco-effort with regular wrapping paper. Opting for fabric gift wrap or other creative gift wrap ideas is not only sustainable, it's beautiful and unique for a truly memorable gift giving experience.

Read more: Creative Gift Wrap Ideas
Read More: Reusable, Fabric Gift Wrap



Earth Day History, Activities, and Crafts

Earth Day History, Crafts, and Activities for the Whole Family

Earth Day, April 22 every year, is a great opportunity to connect with family and friends in celebration of the Earth and to get involved in your community or local region.

Read more: Earth Day History, Activities, and Crafts





Valentine's Day

valentines day hearts

Show your loved ones you care for them, their ideals and the environment (without chemical-laden roses or chocolates made with GMO sugar) with these green Valentine's Day ideas for sustainable gift, ways to spend the holiday...and the sexiest environmental tips around.

Read More: Green Valentine Gift Ideas




Halloween

22 Green Halloween Ideas

From costumes and parties to trick-or-treating and jack-o-lanterns, you can trick the consumerism, treat the kids, and have a blast with a Green Halloween!

Read More: 22 Green Halloween Ideas




Thanksgiving

How to create a greener Thanksgiving

Possibly one of the easiest holidays to "green", a sustainable Thanksgiving dinner spent around the table with loved ones is all about simplicity, gratitude and awareness of life's many blessings.

Read More: 12 Steps to a Sustainable Thanksgiving





Hanukkah

How to create a greener Hanukkah

No doubt you are thinking about polishing your menorah, dusting the dreidels and starting the search for the perfect presents. But have you considered you're environmental footprint this year?

Read More: Eco-Friendly Hanukkah Traditions




Christmas

christmas nutcracker ornament

Beat the consumerism and waste - from gifts to decorating and beyond - and discover easy, enjoyable ways to create an eco-friendly holiday with these ideas.

Read More: Creating a Green Christmas






New Year's

new years fireworks

As you approach the New Year, why not also approach your New Year's resolutions with a different, more holistic perspective? Ask yourself how changing your life can also change the world.

Read More: Resolving What Really Matters







Books for Eco-Friendly Holidays

There are so many more ideas that you can implement for our eco-friendly holidays and celebrations, especially Christmas. Here are just a few books to get you started:

dreaming green christmas bookI'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas: Gifts, Decorations, and Recipes that Use Less and Mean More by Anna Getty green christmas bookGreen Christmas: How to Have a Joyous, Eco-Friendly Holiday Season by Sander, Sander and Basye
greener christmas bookA Greener Christmas
by Sheherazade Goldsmith






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Whatever step you take, remember to have fun!





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