The Holidays are finally here! Whether you’re having a Happy Hanukah, a Merry Christmas, or a Happy Kwanzaa – Socket is here with tips to make your holidays a greener and more efficient experience! Let’s begin.
First, ditch the wrapping paper already! Does the sight of all that crumbled and torn up wrapping paper that you so meticulously folded leave you feeling deflated every Christmas? What about when you’re stuffing several trash bags full of that same decorative paper that, just yesterday, was perfectly useful and whole? Does it begin to make less and less sense that you spend money on – not only gifts, not only food, but also on pretty paper that lasts less than 24 hours against your clan of excited relatives and children? If so, you’re in luck! Socket has some useful tips to break you of this wasteful holiday tradition.
Newspaper and junk mail! You likely receive an influx of good ol’ holiday junk mail around this time. Don’t toss it, use it! Wrapping gifts in newspaper or junk mail offers the same function as if you wrapped them in decorative paper you buy at the store. If you’re going to toss them anyway, you may as well let them serve a purpose before sending them off to the recycling center!
Use spare cloth or linens. If you or someone in your household is crafty and has spare - cloth, linen, ribbons, or anything of the sort- use it to your advantage and wrap your gifts with them! This will be a nice change from traditional holiday wrapping paper.
Second, when the day of last minute holiday shopping comes, skip the plastic and bring your own reusable shopping bags. If you forget yours at home, don’t worry! You can often find holiday themed reusable totes for sale near the checkout counter. If you’re worried about coming home with yet another reusable bag and your stash is getting too big, Socket has a solution for that too. Use it to give a gift in! This is really two gifts in one and will save you from wasting wrapping paper or paper bags. The recipient will not only be receiving a well thought out gift from you but also a practical gift they’ll use over and over again.
Third, try something new and send out holiday ecards! Are you one of the 1.9 billion Americans planning on sending out holiday cards this year? There are dozens of websites that allow you to put together holiday themed ecards that arrive at their destination faster and allow you to send them to more friends and family members! This is not only different and fun but it is also a more sustainable approach to this holiday tradition. If physical cards are your thing and ecards just won’t do it for you, look for cards made from recycled material!
Fourth, choose soy or beeswax candles! Whether you’re buying decorative, holiday candles to add a touch of cheer throughout your house, long taper candles for a menorah, or giving one as a gift – definitely choose soy or beeswax candles! There are several reasons to choose these over popular paraffin candles. Soy and beeswax candles burn longer and are bio-degradable. Paraffin candles are made from gasoline by-products, soy and beeswax is derived naturally. Soy and beeswax candles also smell stronger than paraffin, which let’s admit, is the main perk of buying and burning candles. SOCKET also has good news for those of you with allergies and sensitivities, beeswax candles are hypo-allergenic! So let’s review – not only are soy and beeswax candles better for the environment, but they also are better for your health, burn longer, smell better, and last longer!
Fifth, use upcycled products to decorate and celebrate! The internet is a wonderful thing, full of DIY projects and websites that make it incredibly easy to celebrate the holidays sustainably. Socket loves reusing materials that are normally thrown away. Save your glass bottles and jars and get a little crafty; create decorative centerpieces and flower holders. You can also use these as holders to make your own candles in and give them out as gifts, but that’s not all! There are tons of websites out there that are selling or providing instructions on how to make upcycled menorahs, Christmas trees, wreaths, and almost anything else you can imagine! Get your friends and kids involved and make a day of it, everyone will walk away with a head full of plans and ideas for next year!
Next tip, change up your meal plans this year! Socket likes to make sure to buy local or organic, and opts for the more humane choice of free-range eggs. Believe it or not, eating meat has a significant carbon footprint. You can reduce this by going meat free for your holiday meals! Socket admits, it can sound a bit quirky, but there are so many great recipes and substitution options out there that your family may not even notice it missing! If this just isn’t an option for your holidays, consider buying locally sourced meat to reduce the fuel footprint incurred with your usual supermarket choice. Going back to the carbon footprint of your food, Socket also likes to replace dairy with plant and nut based substitutes. There are so many options out there, you are sure to find a new recipe you love and continue to make every year!
Moving on to the next tip, make sure to be festive AND energy efficient. Socket likes using LED holiday lights to decorate during the season. These glow brighter, last longer, and use 75 percent less energy. Just like with all appliances, be sure to unplug them during the daytime when they are least likely to be seen and used. Try investing in a timer for your lights! You can usually find one for around $20-30, this will allow you to program your lights to be shining brightly during the evening and powering down as you lie down to sleep! No mess, no hassle, just efficiency!
Be conscious of your footprint and carpool! The holiday season yields dozens of events and gatherings that demand attendance. Plan these things out and carpool to your destination with friends and family. Not only are you spending more time together but you’re also making the most efficient choice!
Lastly, if your holidays involve a tree and you’re in the market for a new one, buy a real one! This is a subject that has been long debated, so let Socket compile the facts for you. Most Christmas trees are grown specifically for the purpose of being bought and sold for the holiday. If grown responsibly, another tree is planted when one is cut down. Therefore, you are not contributing to deforestation. After the holidays are over dispose of the tree efficiently; most cities offer curb side pick-up or drop-off recycle locations. Old trees are often sent through a wood chipper and repackaged as mulch, some is used for fuel, and some simply decompose in a landfill. If you have the need and resources, you could also utilize the material from the tree for your own compost and mulch. There are often places available where you can rent a wood chipper or purchase one for a reasonable price.
To sum it all up! The holidays are meant to be celebrated with friends and family, but can often cause unexpected stress. Stress a little less by utilizing these tips. Your wallet and the environment are sure to appreciate you doing so. Be sure to check out Socket's other blogs for tips on staying energy efficient around the home and kitchen this holiday season!