Generate Less Waste This Holiday Season

Generate Less Trash This Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time of year when there’s more of everything – shopping, eating, garbage, and good cheer.  Here are some easy steps you can take to generate less waste this holiday season, while still making merry. You can be frugal, fancy, and fun during the holiday season!

1.  Buy second-hand or vintage items

Second-hand items usually have a memorable story of how they were found or discovered.  Candlestick holders, cake servers, and classic books are all wonderful gift ideas.  Start thinking about where you might like to “find” a gift for someone special.  Estate sales, garage sales, Craig’s list, Goodwill, and Value Village are always fun adventures and you never know what you’ll come home with.  Take a friend or your partner and make it a date.

2.  Re-use the same box for gift wrapping

When purchasing new items, don’t take the gift box when it is offered.  Find one around your home to re-use, keep it on hand to use again and again.  The same goes for tissue paper, which can be used many times.  Don’t forget to bring you own shopping bags with you into the store, too.

3.  Re-use ribbons

Keep the ribbons you receive on packages and re-use them.  Press the ribbons with a very hot iron and trim ends to give them a fresh look.  (Do not iron plastic ribbons.)

4.  Use cloth bags instead of wrapping paper

Cloth bags can be sewn and used instead of wrapping paper.  My family only likes the bags for small gifts.  For most gifts, they like to unwrap the paper.  (I want to sew bags for all gifts but my family shuns this concept.)  Old maps are an excellent alternative for wrapping materials.  Don’t overlook estate sales as a source for holiday gift wrap.  It’s inexpensive and there’s always plenty of it.

Generate Less Trash This Holiday Season

5.  Buy less stuff

Don’t over-buy this holiday season.  Does anyone really need more stuff?  Give a gift of time together instead of more stuff.  Make sure you don’t over-spend either.  Keep spending under control and you won’t have any regrets in January.

Generate Less Trash This Holiday Season

Give your love running shoes and commit to a walking or running program for the New Year.  That’s what my husband and I give each other every year for Christmas.  Can you say practical?

What do you do?  Are you trying to buy less this year or same as last year?  How do you like to decorate?


Go Gingham related links:

Displaying holiday cards – don’t put them away, just leave them out to enjoy
Homemade Christmas gift tradition: family calendar
Tree topper tale: a Christmas tree topper that’s so easy to make
Quick and easy holiday decorating: very easy

6 thoughts on “Generate Less Waste This Holiday Season

  1. We’re buying less this year. We’re buying each set of parents joint gift instead of individual gifts. We’re also getting them things we know they want and will use a lot.

    I’m also trying to make some of our gifts to our kids this year, new pajamas and a set of beanbags. Every year, I try to go a little more green with the holidays!


    1. Hi Terri,
      We do PJs for Christmas regularly. Really, I just sew the PJ pants and the kids wear soccer camp or library reading contest t-shirts. Good job being green for the holidays! I love your site and all of your family craft projects. We’re working on our holiday card right now! Thanks for leaving a comment.


  2. For the past few years, we have attempted to buy meaningful, useful gifts–something the recipient really needs. And we have been reusing ribbons, boxes and bags for several years–my sister and I “fight” over gift boxes. We recycle/reuse everything we can…


    1. Oh Patty! What a great thing to fight over – who gets to reuse the gift box! We’re a family of useful, practical gifts, too. Our kids are lucky because their grandparents are very generous with gifts. I love that you reuse everything you can. Great job!


  3. Like others who have responded above, we collect and reuse the same gift boxes for YEARS until they literally fall apart. Ditto for the bows and ribbons. My favorite thing, however, is our “vintage” collection of gift tags. Some of these are in our sons’ little-kid handwriting which makes them doubly precious. Some of them include pet names they called each other growing up, like “To Dootinski From the Bubbenator.” Love them all, and it certainly has cut down the amount of time it takes to wrap, too.


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