Hi everyone, I’m so excited it’s December and for this video I have partnered with Greenvelope to give you some tips and ideas to make your holidays a little greener including eco-friendly decorations, gift giving and party tips. Unfortunately the holidays can be a pretty wasteful time, but there are lots of simple things you can do to reduce your impact. My first tip is to go paperless. I was really excited to discover Greenvelope, because I have a lot of cards to send this year and they have really beautifully designed digital cards that look like a paper card, not like the typical kind of cheesy e-cards that I’m used to seeing. Sending digital cards saves envelope paper, card paper… Plus a lot of cards have plastic decorations or come in plastic sleeves, it saves energy from shipping, nothing ends up in the landfill and as an added bonus – it’s cheaper. Plus Greenvelope also gives back to the environmental organisations: ‘Mountains to Sound’ and ‘1% for the Planet’. I really like that you can add your own photo and customise the card… and if you need to you can add RSVP tracking and maps for invitations or other features like surveys to make planning easier. I’m going to be using them for my Christmas cards and and if we decide to do a New Year’s party, for that as well and they also have cards and invites for anytime of the year and all different kinds of events. My next tip is to give conscious gifts. I think that experiences make the best gifts. Things like movie tickets, concert tickets maybe a nice dinner or an activity that they enjoy. It not only creates less waste and clutter but gifting a memory can be so much more special than a thing Another gift idea is gifting consumables My favourite thing in this category is baking. I absolutely love receiving baking during the holidays. You can also gift other food items that you know they’ll like or products that you know they’ll use up. You can also gift your Time. Things like maybe offering to babysit their kids fix something that they need repaired, help out with a project that they’re working on. Giving your time can be so helpful and valuable to somebody and it’s a really nice personal gift. And finally I like the idea of proposing to your family or group of friends, the idea of everybody buying just one gift for one other person. where you all draw names and that way you can invest a little more in that gift and get the person something that they really want and you’ll know that they’ll use. If you have gifts that you want to wrap, avoid traditional wrapping paper because it can’t be recycled. Try to reuse materials or use recycled materials See what you have available and get creative. In my family growing up, we actually almost never had wrapping paper We had these cloth bags that my mom made with a bow on them, to tie them up and we reused them every year. You can also wrap gifts in reusable things like tote bags or tea towels. And next is: Asking for conscious gifts. And I know that especially if you’re trying to live more minimally gift giving and receiving gifts can be kind of a difficult time And I think that one of the best things that you can do is tell other people that are probably going to be giving you gifts, how you feel whether you want no gifts at all or whether there’s something in particular that you know that you could really use so that they can give you That, instead of just some random stuff. Also if you don’t want any gifts but you that there are people that really want to get you something how about asking that they donate to a charity that you support. And finally, if you do receive unwanted gifts I think it’s good to just be gracious and then and try to find those gifts a better home where they’ll actually be used. My next tip is to use natural decorations and these are my favourite kind of decorations, because they not only look really lovely but they can be composted and you don’t need to store them I really like using branches, whether in jars or hanging them up. Dried orange slices also look beautiful, whether hanging in front of a window or made into a garland or used as decorations on a tree. Cinnamon sticks are always great, you can make candle arrangements or do all kinds of things with them. Cranberries are really festive. This year I strung them into a garland for our tiny little tree. and you can also float them on water with candles or maybe make different kinds of jar arrangements. Pine cones and nuts are also really nice. You can also make your own decorations with a salt dough or a cinnamon dough. And then there are the classic paper decorations like paper snow flakes. And to take it another step you can use recycled paper or old documents. And I also find that smell is a big part of making our home feel festive. So I like using some sort of essential oil blend with maybe cloves and cinnamon or pine. There’s all kinds of really nice wintery smells. And I will link below to my blog post where I talk more about these DIY decorations if you want to make them yourself. And if you’re going to be buying decorations try to get them second hand. Artificial trees or any sort of decoration is going to be a lot better if you can get it second hand. And if you’re using lights, use energy saving LED’s. Next I have a few holiday party tips. And the first is to use reusable dishes. And if you don’t have enough for all of your guests maybe ask a friend or relative if they can bring their set so you don’t need to use the plastic cups and cutlery and paper plates and all of those disposable dishes. Food has a pretty significant impact and you can reduce that by doing things like buying local, seasonal or organic foods. See if there are any areas where you can try to reduce meat or the use of animal products. Even if it’s something simple like choosing a vegetarian appetiser over a meat appetiser. I know it can be really difficult with families and food especially over the holidays but even if you can make a small substitution or a change, that’s really awesome and a step in the right direction and helps reduce your impact. It’s always good to reduce food waste. Look up recipes that you can use your leftovers for and if you have to much food you can send it home with guests that will eat it. And especially if you drive, plan your shopping trips so that you can pick up everything all at once and don’t need to be going back and forth from the store. And maybe if you know someone else that needs to go shopping you can carpool together. And finally, instead of buying a new party outfit, shop your closet or get one second hand. So I really hope you enjoyed this video and found some of these tips and ideas helpful. Be sure to check out Greenvelope and if you have any other tips for making the holidays greener please share those in the comments. Thank you for watching and thank you so much to those of you supporting me on Patreon and I will see you in the next one.