Want to have a magically Christmas with your kids this year but are worried about the waste? Here is how to have a green Christmas, without losing the magic.
The holidays are extra magical when you have little people running around underfoot. There’s nothing quite like the face of a little one coming down the stairs to see what Santa left under the Christmas tree. It’s my favorite moment of the year. That said, as much as I love Christmas, I hate the waste.
I’m a children’s author and a homeschooling mom of three. My family is home all through the holidays. There are so many times when it’s tempting to give in to some of the waste-creating holiday traditions, but I, like many of Lisa’s regular readers, feel a responsibility to our planet. I’ve been trying very hard over the past few years to make our holiday as magical as possible without hurting our planet. I am far from perfect, but here are some tips I’ve picked up throughout the years.
Tips for Having a Green Christmas With Kids
These tips will help you to keep the magic while having a Green Christamas.
Gifts from Santa Are Not Wrapped
Over the years, the Jolly Old Elf has become very eco-friendly. When you live in the North Pole, it’s easy to worry about the Polar ice caps, after all. So any gifts from Santa are not wrapped. Not only does this help with reducing waste, it saves time and prevents me from having to wrap oddly-shaped gifts. Bikes, toy strollers, teepees…all from Santa Claus.
All Other Gifts are Wrapped with Recycled Materials
My first go-to for wrapping is paper bags. I let the kids decorate them throughout the season and then I can use them as wrapping paper. I save them all year for this purpose. And who doesn’t love “brown paper packages tied up with strings?” I also reuse gift bags, year after year. And ribbons. If you invest in real ribbon instead of the plastic stick on bows, they can be used for years to come. If I need more, I buy recycled wrapping paper. This year, I will probably have to do that as we recently moved and my saved paper bags got used for packing.
Shop Second Hand
Check Craigslist, Ebay and your local thrift and second-hand shops. Not only will you be giving an old item a 2nd life, you’ll save a lot of money while doing it.
In past years, we’ve given memberships to museums, tickets to performances of the Nutcracker, and trips to the ocean. The kids have loved these and the memories last long after the holidays are over. Other ideas are movie tickets, lift tickets if you are a skiing or snowboarding family, zoo or aquarium tickets, concert tickets, dance, karate, music, art, cooking or other classes. There are so many ways to go with this and you know your own kids, but these have been some of the best received gifts we’ve given over the years.
3 or 4 Gift Rule
Full disclosure: We don’t do this. Well, we did the three gift rule when our son was little. I’ve heard a few versions of it. 3 gifts- a gold, frankincense and myrrh gift to represent the three gifts the Wise Men gave Jesus. Or four gifts- “Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read.” Either way, it simplifies the whole gift-giving process and reduces waste. While we don’t follow this exactly, we do attempt to not go overboard.
Think before you buy. That cheap plastic toy from the dollar store may fill a stocking, but how long will it last? If it’s going to break in a week, what’s the point in giving it? Look for fewer items that will have lots of meaning and be long lasting.
Edible Stocking Stuffers
Kids love treats. If you are looking for something to stuff their stocking that won’t hurt the planet, think about making a batch of cookies or candy. They’ll love it and there won’t be any waste.
I hope these tips were helpful to you! I hope you have an amazing holiday filled with love and wonder.
Want to have a stress-free Christmas this year? Check out A Stress-Free Christmas: A Complete How-To Guide.