• Katlyn Selleck

Go Eco This Christmas

Let's talk about eco-friendly and sustainable choices that have impacted generations and societies. It started as a trend and now has transitioned into fulfilled lifestyles that not only bring happiness to the planet but to the people living it. Mostly seen with millennials and the older gen z demographic, their movement into a healthier more sustainable lifestyle has raised eyebrows and perked up ears from a large portion of today's society. With our global climate rapidly heating, more waste being produced, and the production of fast fashion sweeping the globe, it's more important than ever before to take a step back and evaluate our choices.

It is a known fact that holidays accumulate more food and garbage waste than any other time of the year. As the holiday season is coming to its sad but relieving close, and with our world in chaos and families out of jobs, I thought this Christmas would be a perfect way to incorporate eco-friendly alternatives that won't break the bank and will make our hectic holidays smoother.

Opt for Natural or Reusable and Recyclable Gift Wrapping

Let's face it, wrapping paper is expensive, and frankly, I don't need sparkly reindeer and dancing snowmen on thin paper someone will tear to shreds in under a minute. Though it may put you in the festive spirit, instead of buying a new roll, opt for using leftover paper from last year's festivities or swap to recycled or natural bio-degradable wrapping paper. If you don't have wrapping paper and want to use other alternatives, you can use cloth tote bags that the receiver can use afterward to keep your gift-giving waste-free or if you're feeling extra, head to Joan Fabrics and ask for their scraps and miss-cuts of linen fabric. These usually go for cheaper than ordinary cuts of fabric and you can ask for them back to reuse for next year.

Appreciate Your Decor

I find Christmas decorations to be the most enjoyable to buy. Sparkling snow-covered homes I add to my village, snowmen that have a twinkle in their eye, and poinsettia that bring color to every room are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Christmas decor. Every year new and improved Christmas trinkets line shelves hoping to fill the, not so empty, void on your tv cabinet or hallway table, and with the mound of glitter and joy pushed at us each holiday season, we crack and buy the overpriced bauble that'll be replaced next year.

Now with the economy in the ditch and families out of jobs they've had for years, it's time for all of us to take a step back and teach ourselves how to appreciate what we already have. You can't step into a Micheal's without catching the materialistic bug and drooling over this season's jolly Santa Claus. Our society is built around the edited motto of more is more rather than living with less, appreciating our possessions, and only buying new when it is needed. When we must buy new, choose pieces that are of high quality and that you know you'll love for years to come. For example, instead of buying plastic advent calendars every December, invest in a reusable one that can be filled with sweets each year and will decrease waste.

Christmas Tree Revamp

Most Americans will light up their front window with a Christmas tree this year, but do you know how much waste your tree will produce? A simple and quick way to lower your energy waste percentage while also benefiting from a lower electricity bill is switching your ordinary string lights for LEDs. Though this can be a little costly, these lights will pay for themselves every year without soaking up unnecessary electricity and still look beautiful. If you use a fake, prelit tree, use a timer to limit the time your tree is on!

Another solution to keeping this holiday eco-friendly and sustainable is opting for a real tree. Many people prefer fake because of the ease of putting it up and packing it away each year and the worry of watering it every few days is unexistent. However, a real tree from tree farms reduces the waste produced from creating fake trees, and if the fake tree breaks it will be sitting in a landfill forever while a real tree can be recycled.

Be Creative and Shop Local

You've probably heard this a thousand times this year, but it's true. Now more than ever we need to shop locally and buy from independent businesses that are struggling to stay afloat. It's important we support our community and shopping locally is one way you can give a gift to these magnificent entrepreneurs that are trying to keep their dream alive.

Grand Rapids is the perfect city to find small independent shops to buy gifts for your loved ones. Take a stroll down the lamp-lit streets and you'll come across a plethora of small businesses that carry unique, handmade items that are completely one-of-a-kind. It's fun to support people's passions and buying their goods will make this Christmas special for everyone!

All of us at the Lucas Howard Group wish you a Merry Christmas and we cannot wait to see what 2021 brings us all! Enjoy the holidays, spread positive and we will see you next year!

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