The Green Event Holiday Guide

Shopping Sustainably

  • Plan ahead! Consolidate your shopping trips to save fuel and to avoid last minute shopping frenzies.
  • Paper and plastic shopping bags are big contributors to our landfills. Bring your reusable grocery bags along for holiday shopping to reduce the number of bags you waste. Tell store clerks you don't need a bag for small or oversized purchases.
  • Make thoughtful purchases. Buy items with minimal packaging and/or made with recycled content. Consider the durability of a product before you purchase it. The manufacturing and disposal of electronics in particular create significant human health and environmental hazards. Check out the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition for more information.
  • Give gifts that get used up. Candles, soap, fancy foods, or seeds for a garden are all great gifts!
  • Give gifts that don’t create waste like concert or movie tickets, a national parks pass or a membership to local botanical gardens, zoos or aquariums.
  • Better yet, give something homemade. Who doesn’t like fresh sweet treats like cookies or jam (in reusable tins or jars, of course)?
  • Or give your time. Offer to make dinner, walk the dog, help with gardening or home repairs, etc.

The Wrapping Paper Free Challenge

Don’t buy wrapping paper or cards this year! There are lots of ways to creative conceal your gifts.

  • Make the wrapping part of the gift! For kitchen gifts, wrap a gift in a dishtowel, tablecloth or napkin. For bathroom gifts, wrap in a bath towel. Put your gifts in reusable bags or boxes.
  • Give old materials new life: scraps of fabric, magazines, calendars, old maps, foil, kid’s artwork, decorated paper grocery bags etc.
  • Use old holiday cards as gift tags and reuse old wrapping paper

Green Holiday Clean Up

  • Remember to take just a few minutes after after gift giving to save or recycle all of the packaging and wrapping. It is important to recycle all cardboard packaging, peanuts, or other Styrofoam packing that comes with gifts or purchases because they will not break down in a landfill but can be used over and over again for packaging and shipping.
  • Unplug twinkle lights during the day to save energy and help your lights last longer.
  • Be sure to donate unwanted gifts, along with last year’s gifts, to charity.

Practical Party Tips and Tricks

  • If you want to send formal invitations in the mail, consider postcards so you don’t use extra paper for envelopes.
  • To reduce the garbage you generate at your holiday parties, avoid disposables at all costs! Ask guests to bring their own cups, plates, and utensils if you don't have enough of your own. Use fabric tablecloths and napkins.
  • Party clean up is never fun, but it’ll be easier if you set up convenient containers for recycling bottles, cans, ribbons and bows for reuse, and anything else you need.
    • Encourage guests to carpool.
    • Turn down the heat during the party. The extra body heat will warm up the house in no time!
    • Buy beverages in bulk and serve from pitchers. If you have to purchase individual drinks, buy beverages in aluminum cans or glass jars instead of plastic bottles.
    • If you can’t finish them by yourself, send your guests home the leftovers.

Looking for more tips? Check out these useful websites: