"Surviving the Holidays: Eco-Style" - by Tara Wagner

We are so excited to have Tara Wagner from Sustainable Baby Steps and The Organic Sister as a guest blogger here at Eco Womb, sharing her wisdom and experience on surviving the holidays and still staying green. Thanks, Tara!

Surviving the holidays can sometimes seem impossible. It can be such a busy and overwhelming time with gifts to buy and wrap, gatherings to plan or attend, decorations to hang, traffic to navigate…and you know, everyday life to attend to, as well. It’s a lot to juggle and it leaves a lot of us too stressed out to enjoy the season. And then there is the environmental impact: greeting cards, wrapping paper, packaging, shipping and errands and all those artificial trees. Using the Australian Conservation Foundation’s estimates, approximately 10 tonnes of greenhouse pollution is created per person each year. That amounts to approximately 20 billion tones worldwide each December! Thankfully some of the best ways to reduce our stress and increase our enjoyment of the holidays also decreases our environmental impact.

Eco-Friendly Tips for Surviving the Holidays

Slow Down
Absolutely the first thing we must do is slow things down. Taking on fewer commitments and simplifying our traditions to the things that really mean the most to us not only lessens our own stress but will have an impact on the amount of resources we use.

Green the Season
There are so many green Christmas tips to implement: natural and local meals, energy-efficient LEDs, or charitable contributions. Knowing you’re doing right by the environment can help you feel right through surviving the holidays. For more Christmas tips, click here.

Plan Ahead
Properly planning everything from your holiday meal to gift giving will allow you to organize your time and your errands. Combining trips (and making fewer of them because you’re less likely to have forgotten anything) will save vehicle emissions and allow you more time for the things that matter.

Make Your Gifts Count
Every gift should be meaningful and have a real purpose for the receiver. Likewise gifts that are handmade, vintage and good quality will support small businesses, local economies and last longer, meaning fewer items going to the trash. Learn how to find eco-friendly gifts here.

Wrap It Up
Instead of adding to the landfills (or even the recycling bins) choose reusable fabric gift wrap. This creative idea is not only unique, adding style and beauty to your home, it will also save money for years to come. Find out how to make and wrap with fabric gift wrap here.

Decrease Your Consumption
Utility bills shouldn’t stress you out. Keeping warm in the winter with natural home heating strategies does more than decrease your bill; it keeps your environmental footprint small, too. And the same goes for saving water and saving energy.

Set Big Resolutions
Just after Christmas, consider setting aside some time to create New Year’s Resolutions that will have a huge impact on your health, your home and the world. Check out Sustainable Baby Steps for ways to go green, and subscribe to the free Going Green newsletter for updates on how to go green without overwhelming yourself.

Above all, connect to the reasons you choose to do any of it. Tradition, meaning, connection…they apply not just to surviving the holidays, but to greening your life, as well.

Tara Wagner writes Sustainable Baby Steps for people who are searching for the knowledge and ideas to go green without feeling overwhelmed. With practical and important tips she shows how you can change the world, a few baby steps at a time.

Clint Malson