Thanksgiving. Christmas. New Year… These annual celebrations (at least in the U.S.) all have a long history and are characterized by excessive expenses. The holiday season, which was once a time to celebrate and reunite with family, has now become the peak of consumerism. Increasingly, there is an urge to spend more money during this period, and the numbers speak for themselves. According to a recent survey, “63% of Americans feel pressured to overspend” (The Oklahoman). Inevitably, massive purchases create more trash which contributes to the ever-increasing environmental problems. While it would be foolish to devalue gifts because of their byproducts, all can agree that most holiday purchases are compulsive and unnecessary. Besides the environmental impact of overconsumption, reducing holidays to material possessions deprive them of their original intention—thankfulness, celebration of Christ’s birth, family time. With a few actionable steps, you can make this holiday season more intentional and environmentally friendly.
Create your own gifts. Gifts are more appreciated when handmade because they are personal, thoughtful and unique. What memories does your 32-inch TV bring you? However, you cherish the mug painted by your mom because it’s priceless! You can reciprocate this to your friends and family; they will undoubtedly appreciate and never forget your gift!
Eco-friendly decorations. Rather than buying new, you can reuse decorations from previous years. You can also create your own with natural elements. This can serve as a family activity, which would bring joy and stimulate your grey cells. Check out this blog for creative, green decoration ideas.
Reduce food waste. As much as “40% of the food produced in the U.S. doesn’t get eaten” (The Seattle Times). This percentage increases slightly during holiday seasons. This year, you can make a difference by getting ingredients for special recipes in reasonable proportions. Before cooking tons of dishes for your Christmas party, guesstimate the expected attendance to avoid unnecessary waste.
Celebrate the holiday spirit. Not the store’s latest discount. Instead of a trip to the mall, why not reconnect with an old friend, or spend time with your family? If you’re into sports, start skiing or snowball fighting. These experiences are guaranteed to make you joyful while bringing you closer to your loved ones.
I hope that these tips will help you spend the holiday season more intentionally!
Written by Kelly Jean, Class of 2021