Plan for a less wasteful holiday season
While the holiday season usually means colder temperatures, it’s also a time when climate change starts heating up. Why? Gifting and celebrating creates a lot of waste.
While it might be festive to plan for piles of boxes and gift bags on Christmas morning, consider that it takes about 50,000 trees to create the 8,000 tons of wrapping paper used to wrap gifts each year. That’s about 1,000 acres of trees—gone.
And while getting a mailbox stuffed with cards can be exciting, those 2.65 billion cards sold each year in the U.S. are enough to fill a 10-story football field.
The added holiday party food waste, Black Friday shopping bags, Amazon packaging, and decorative ribbons used around the holidays contribute an additional 1 million tons of trash to landfills every week of the season.
Recent research shows that, across a toy’s life cycle, the total carbon emissions are 6.3 times the product’s weight. With today’s society of consumerism—especially around Black Friday-fueled holiday shopping—companies spend tons to market their products in a way that encourages people to buy more stuff.
If you’re a parent and care about improving the planet for your children, there are some simple ways to cut out waste without cutting back on festive fun, holiday traditions, and joy.
So, what can you and your family do to contribute less to the problem and cut out waste?
Here are some ways to fight for the climate at each step of your holiday gifting journey:
1. Make a virtual wishlist
Instead of putting pen to paper, screenshot or save a wishlist like this one and type out your little one’s gifting wishes. Another benefit of going digital? This wishlist is super easy to email out to loved ones or share on social to spread the word.
2. Choose ground shipping
Shopping online? During checkout, select ground shipping if possible. In addition to being a bit more climate friendly, it tends to be the cheaper option.
Sometimes, you just can’t resist a great sale or hitting the mall to grab gifts for everyone in your circle. Avoid unnecessary packaging and wasteful bags by bringing your own reusable totes or boxes (a la Costco) for schlepping your haul to the car.
4. Ask for investments
While toys and games are tons of fun, any parent knows that kids can grow bored of new, shiny things pretty fast. Then, they’re super likely to end up in a landfill or even just taking up precious space in your home.
Instead of requesting new toys this year for your little one, share your child’s EarlyBird link with loved ones and request special photos & videos alongside an investment of any amount. The funds will go toward your child’s future, and the messages of love will live on as a display of joy and support for much longer than anything you can find at a mall.
5. Say thanks!
Teach your little one about gratitude, appreciation, and abundance by recording “thank you” videos for each gift they received this year. Share videos online or via text with your community.
However you decorate for the holidays, and whatever gifts you choose for your child this season, be sure to put thought and care into the selection process and focus on whatever will have a lasting impact. After all, the holidays are about more than just giving presents—they're also about creating lasting moments and strengthening the bonds in your family.
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