entertaining · home + garden

Sustainable Holidays

Sustainable Holidays Go Gingham

Did you know that from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, the amount of trash we generate goes up by 25%? That’s a lot of stuff getting thrown out! From decorating our homes to gift giving and entertaining, we want to be festive but we don’t want to waste. Here are three easy methods to reduce the amount of trash getting generated – and saving money, too.

Sustainable holidays are good for the environment but they’re also good for the budget, too. When we slow down and think about our spending – ‘thoughtful spending’ I like to call it – and what we’re bringing into homes, we usually waste less. Do what I do and ask these questions: Do I really need it? Do I have something similar at home? Could I borrow an item rather than buying it myself? How will it get recycled?

Sustainable Holidays: Decorating at Home

Invest in table cloths that can be reused every year. If only using items once-a-year, they always look new and festive. You can easily make your own but try and find one on sale or at an estate sale. Decorate with items that can be composted or eaten.

Decorate with Fruit Go Gingham

Bowls of pine cones are pretty around the house and can be gathered when walking or hiking. Bowls of fresh fruit – especially citrus – look so vibrant and healthy and can be eaten or made into smoothies.

Sustainable Holidays: Wrapping Presents

Look for gift wrap that’s not foil based or shiny – that way, it can be recycled. If buying new gift wrap, look for ‘recycled gift wrap.’

Gift and Reused Tag Go Gingham
Craft paper or paper shopping bags can be used to wrap gifts. Turn the bags inside out (so the printing doesn’t show) and use them like regular gift wrap. Ribbons or scraps of fabric can dress it up or stamps can be used to embellish it. It’s easy to reuse ribbons, too. Use sharp scissors and trim the edges – press with a hot iron as long as they’re not plastic – and reuse them.

I also love to wrap gifts in maps – very pretty but not really holiday-ish. (Gift wrap alternatives – maps.)

Sustainable Holidays: Entertaining

Skip the paper plates! Look at second-hand stores or estate sales – every single one has them – for glass plates with a cup holder. They look great and the serving sizes are smaller – keeping us all from overeating. Run them through the dishwasher – so easy!

Fabric gift wrap and napkins Go Gingham
Martini glasses or champagne flutes are readily available at second hand stores. Toast in the New Year by saving money and saving resources.

Sustainable Gift Wrapping Go Gingham

I shared my tips on AMNW TV show – local here in Portland – earlier this week. Have a peek…


Sustainable holidays are good for the environment and will keep you from spending too much this holiday season. Savings all around – my favorite!

How do you embrace the season – and save?

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
Holiday attire that’s all used clothing – frugal and fancy to wear!

14 thoughts on “Sustainable Holidays

    1. Rebecca, thank you! I love the hemlock, too. A tree fell at the park near us and I got several branch fulls for decorating and gift wrapping. But, the gingham – we know it looks good on everything, right? 😉


    1. Thanks, Janna! The lipstick is my fancy one but the lip pencil is from Walgreen’s – “Jordanna” is the brand of the pencil and their colors are great – and very reasonably priced.


  1. I’m glad you got fallen branches in the park instead of cutting growing plants! I like to use the Sunday funny paper for gift wrapping. If you have young kids (or are young at heart) you could have them color on newspaper. And if you know a librarian you could ask for the paper that is used to stuff space in boxes of books sent from suppliers (I paint the newsprint to use for wrapping paper and greeting cards).
    An inexpensive and “no garbage” gift would be a list of favorite books available at the local library with reviews…


    1. Meg, all very brilliant ideas! I especially like the using of materials that comes with the shipping of ‘stuff’ – that paper is great and could easily be reused and embellished.
      Thank you for chiming in – and for the gift idea, too. 🙂


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