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Sustainability is an important concept in modern society. As the consequences of overconsumption and ecological waste become more apparent, people are transitioning to a more sustainable way of life. From zero waste lifestyles to preceding plastic, people are choosing to adopt routines that are gentle on our planet. Choosing to live in a responsible and ecologically minded manner is surprisingly easy with a few simple changes. Fortunately, those changes can be adapted to any situation, including celebrating the holidays. There are many ways that we can use sustainability during the holidays.

One of the most important aspects of holiday sustainability is to be mindful with our gift-giving. Gifting experiences, such as theater tickets or ceramics classes, instead of material items is one option. Another option is to give homemade gifts, such as baked goods or plant cuttings in cute pots. If you prefer to purchase gifts, try to shop local and support small businesses that are often more environmentally conscious. Art fairs and farmer’s markets are good places to find local crafts and foods that make amazing gifts. When wrapping gifts, opt for reusable wrappings, such as tea towels or scarves. This eliminates the unnecessary waste of wrapping paper, and the recipient gets another gift.

Many people get together to celebrate during the holidays. Whether you are hosting a large sit-down dinner or a festive cocktail party, there are ways to incorporate sustainability into the occasion. The simplest act is to use real dishes instead of disposables. Not only does it look nicer on the table, but it reduces waste immensely. Additionally, shopping in bulk when possible at the grocery store can reduce excessive plastic waste. Additionally, it can help by buying the food locally, as this supports the surrounding community. Once the dinner is over, sending leftovers with guests can reduce the amount of food that is wasted.

Decorating is an important part of the holidays. Try to use objects from nature: pinecones and tree boughs are beautiful on the mantle. Soy or beeswax candles contain no toxins. A living tree can be planted when the holidays are over. There are many choices to help us in our journey toward more sustainable holidays if we are willing to put in the effort.