And just like that, another holiday season is upon us! Here in Finland, winter has officially arrived with marshmallow sized snowflakes blanketing our lawns. Picture warm fires, fuzzy socks, and piping mugs filled to the brim with hot cocoa – it’s a forever winter mood.
Whatever climate you live in, welcoming the month of December has many of us attending countless holiday parties, family get-togethers, and festive events. We’re sure you’re looking forward to showing the love and appreciation you have for those near and dear to your heart. At TAMGA, mother nature is near and dear to ours and this holiday season we ask you to think about her as you shop for gifts, host holiday dinners, and enjoy the season. This is why we’ve created a list of the ultimate 10 steps you can take to make this holiday season a memorable and sustainable one!
1. Make your gifts
Going that extra mile to actually make someone’s gift says a lot. Bonus: it’s also a great way to cut down on unnecessary waste. Did you know that between the period of Thanksgiving and New Year’s, American households generate 25% more waste than usual?! That’s about 1 million extra tons of trash each year according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Making your gifts allows you to decide how much impact you will have: you can cut down on packaging, make use of sustainable materials AND your gift will have a special story behind it.
Need some ideas? How about making a bath bomb? Or create delicious jars of home-made jam or Christmas cakes. Feeling crafty? Learn how to hand crochet a blanket or knit a scarf. Check out Pinterest and YouTube, both are great resources for beautiful gift ideas and guides!
Want to make it even more fun? Grab some friends and make a day out of it, this will make the whole experience of creating that much more memorable.
2: Re-usable packaging or old newspaper for gift wrapping
Looking to create less waste this holiday season? Let’s start with wrapping paper. A lot of it can’t be recycled as it’s lined with plastic, so it usually ends up in a landfill. In the UK an estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown out each year(!) Typically, in the United Kingdom 30% of the year’s total waste is created during the festive season. That’s a lot of waste that can be easily avoided. Perhaps you want to get creative and try this neat DIY project on making your own gift bags from newspaper. Are you trying to show your friends how to be more eco-friendly this year? If so, why not buy them a reusable cloth bag that you can give them their gift in! Equally you could head on over to your local thrift shop and check out other possibilities like chic scarves you could wrap a gift in, or antique jars and cookie tins. This is a great way to cut down on wrapping paper while also gifting them a two-in-one gift (and who doesn’t love that!).
3. Keep in mind who made the gift
While you’re doing your Christmas shopping this year it’s important to keep in mind the type of companies you’re supporting. Ask yourself 'who made this gift?', and 'what type of environment was it made in?'. These questions encourage us to dig a bit deeper than the store shelf, to make sure that the gift was made in conditions that fit with our values. It’s easy to get caught up in the sales and rapid consumption that happens at this time of the year but always remember that there are real people behind each purchase you make.
4. Treat loved ones to experiences rather than material items
This is my favourite tip in the list because I believe it speaks to what the holiday season is all about. Rather than buying a material gift for someone, why not treat them to an experience where you’re able to spend time together and make great memories! The experience can be anything from a snowy outdoor adventure, to a brewery tour, dinner, a concert or a creative workshop (try out a local paint night! Drinks + painting = loads of fun).
Raise your right hand in the air and repeat after me: 'This year, I promise not to buy gifts for the sake of buying gifts'. Although it may be enticing to purchase that random coffee maker that’s on sale for such a good price, resist the urge! Consider making a commitment to buy gifts because they’re practical, not just on sale. TAMGA creates pieces like kimonos and scarves that are one size fits all and versatile enough to be treasured for years (or decades) to come.
6. Make a donation to a charity in the name of the giftee
If you’re looking for a gift that your loved one can feel good about, why not make a donation in their name to a charity that is close to their hearts? If you’re looking for a great environmental organization to donate to, check out the Sumatran Orangutan Society (S.O.S). This group of committed conservationists works tirelessly to protect and restore the ancient and endangered rainforest in Sumatra, which is being pushed to the brink of destruction by demand for palm oil, wood pulp and viscose fabric. S.O.S. even has a team that rescues Orangutans that are injured and stranded by industrial activities, and trains local communities in sustainable livelihoods that don’t destroy the forest. At TAMGA we donate a percentage of every sale to S.O.S and €10 from every Trees Please Tee sold.
7. Take a look in your closet before buying a new holiday outfit
Before you rush to the mall to purchase a new outfit for your holiday and new year's party, why not go home and check out what’s in your closet? Simply pairing a dress or top with a dressy blazer, statement jewelry or a chunky belt can transform an outfit into something fresh and new (while also being a great way to save some money). If you’re really itching for a new dress, try hosting a clothing swap. This is a great way to spend some time with friends, save money on clothes and snag a great new outfit!
8. Use reusable cutlery and plates at holiday gatherings
Most of us will either be hosting a holiday party or attending one this year, and along with that comes a lot of waste that will end up in a landfill. Zero Waste Finland has reported that the average Canadian family throws out 25% to 45% more garbage over the holidays. All of this is preventable! The easiest thing to do is say no to single-use plastic cups and cutlery. Recycle when you must, but make use of reusable cutlery, plates, and glasses wherever you can. If you’re short on dishes, ask your friends or colleagues to bring a few of theirs (trust me, they’ll be happy to help the host!).
9. Buy plants as Christmas gifts
Hot tip: house plants make beautiful (and GREEN) gifts! Plants are a great way to show your love in a way that will grow and be appreciated over time. Whether you go for a little succulent or a large tropical one, house plants are totally on-trend in terms of décor and are great for brightening up any space in the colder months of the year.
10. Decorate the eco way
A lot of houses will be sparkling with warm Christmas lights around this time of year. To make your Christmas lights more energy-efficient, switch the bulbs over to LED lights as the old ones burn out. Also, why not try making your holiday ornaments this year! Making crafty decorations is a great opportunity to spend a day on another fun DIY project with friends and family (especially the little ones), and we all know that ornaments and decorations with a story are always the most treasured. Try making a homemade Christmas wreath or check out this amazing Pinterest board for DIY ornament ideas.
Do you have a tip that you didn’t see on the list? Let us know in the comments! From all of us at TAMGA we hope your holiday season is full of lots of laughs and memorable moments.
We hope this list has helped make your holiday season a little more joyful and a whole lot greener!
Happy Holidays 🎄
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