Skip To Content

    "I'm Sick Of Giving People Things They Don't Want": 10 Ways To Have A More Sustainable, Less Wasteful Holiday Season

    Aren't we all sick of giving each other body lotion and Dollar Store stocking stuffers?

    Tis the season...of spending a lot of money on a bunch of stuff.

    I'm sick of giving people things they don't want.

    A 2016 study found that Americans throw away $16 billion in gifts each year.

    As a sustainable finance pro, it drives me up a wall to have an entire season dedicated to creating even more waste.

    View this video on YouTube

    I help people spend and invest sustainably, but the most difficult time of year to do that is from October-December. There are multiple holidays, school obligations, gift giving occasions, and often, a need to travel. Money can just flow out of our wallets, even if we don't want to spend on certain things.

    Let's all agree to stop giving people literal garbage from now on. Especially when everything is so expensive!

    This holiday season, we're giving gifts and eating foods that *actually fit* into our budgets. Here are 10 ways to start:

    1. When it comes to food, try a vegetarian main dish for holiday dinners.

    butternut squash risotto

    2. Follow Reduce, Reuse, Recycle as a gift-giving guide.

    3. Sustainable living blogger Jhánneu suggests giving kids gifts that can teach them about sustainability.

    View this video on YouTube

    She tells BuzzFeed that an indoor garden kit is a great starting point. These kind of gifts encourage a connection to nature and give kids an activity to work on, rather than some plastic toy they'll get bored of in one week. If toys aren't your kid's thing, a family trip to a location they really desire is another option!

    4. Have honest conversations about changing how your family gives gifts.

    5. Burn plant-based candles, instead of petroleum.

    6. Try upcycling your gifts this year.

    7. Step away from the $20 gift limits for workplace gift exchanges.

    8. Talk to family about having a more sustainable family gathering.

    9. Decorate with more environmentally friendly holiday decor.

    10. And finally, choose a sustainable option, or skip the wrapping paper altogether.

    pile of crumpled used wrapping paper

    What tips do you have to have a more sustainable holiday season this year? Share them in the comments!