Eco-Friendly Ideas For the Holidays
The holidays can be merry and bright without adding a big impact to the environment, all you need is to shop consciously and look into second-hand kid gear, packaging alternatives and ways to use less while still giving plenty.
At Good Buy Gear we don't add any extra bags or boxes to our gently-used toys, art supplies, science kits, baby items or books. It's easy to pick up and deliver right to the child while feeling good that not only have you made them happy, you're not adding to the ever-growing landfill. Aside from shopping second hand and open box, there are alternatives to wrapping, how to serve food at a party, decorations and more. Make this holiday season your most environmentally conscious one yet with these tips and tricks.
Perhaps one of the biggest things about the holidays is gift giving. Though we get bombarded with all the things we think we need to buy, when it comes to kids they really don't need much. And, especially for younger children, they don't need brand new toys. Every year thousands of toys end up in landfills, and all the plastic, gears and metal bits don't break down quickly. So, this season shop for quality second-hand gear instead, not only does it make less of an impact on the environment, but it's good for budgeting too.
Shopping For Quality Second-Hand Gear
When you shop for second-hand baby and kid toys, not only are you helping reduce trash on the packaging side, but your also saving all the energy, water, man hours and the waste making new toys generates. Plus, there's so much good stuff out there that's been gently used and children don't care where it came from, as long as they get to play with it.
A lot of the holiday presents my kids get are second-hand, often coming from Good Buy Gear. And not all of it is actually used. This year my cache includes an unopened bug robot kit, stack of easy-reader books and a LEGO bundle for my 6-year-old. My 3-year-old will get a giant toy dinosaur, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures and sturdy plastic tool set. It's a win-win situation, you feel good giving the present, and the kid certainly feels grateful getting it. As an added bonus, since I saved money shopping for second-hand toys, they will each get an extra one.
Open Box Options
Yes, open-box items are things we get new, and it's a niche Good Buy Gear specializes in. We get items from many different companies that sell open-box goods in bulk. We're happy to source these strollers, car seats, toys, bouncers and other items for our customers, both because it's quality stuff and this process saves these things from ending up in the trash. That's right, many big name shops often throw out returns rather than bothering to check the item and restock it.
Open box also means you can get really good stuff for less money, and that warm fuzzy feeling that you're not only getting a gift someone loves, but you're saving the item from getting trashed. Good Buy Gear carries an array of perfect-gift inventory in this category that changes all the time, from baby carriers to swaddles to high-end strollers. Of course toys too, especially infant and toddler goods such as chunky Crayola blocks, various teething rings and the adorable Kid O Myland Horse.
Now that you have your gifts, how can you make them a surprise without a ton of paper wrapping paper? It's a hard step, I know. Wrapping gifts in brightly-colored and fun-patterned paper is one of my favorite things, but it generates so much garbage. This year we are investing in fun fabrics, real ribbon and re-usable bags to make the presents under the tree pop. You can also use nice containers that double up as a jewelry box, toy box or vessel to keep all those building blocks in. The goal is to still keep the gifts a mystery, but without that trash bag full of wrapping in the end.
Holiday parties are also another fun part of the season, but can generate a ton of garbage. True, no one wants to be doing dishes well into next year, but that doesn't mean there aren't disposable options that are better for the environment. Instead of Styrofoam go for paper cups and plates. Or even better, get disposable dishes that can be composted, such as ones made from bamboo or other biodegradable material. If you're serving hot chocolate or other warm drinks, consider making it a theme that everyone bring their favorite holiday mug, preferably with a top for the kids.
Decorate with natural materials, such as holly leaves, popcorn and cranberry strings and miniature fir trees. For entertainment, have a cookie decorating station with reusable containers to bring the creations home. A Santa bag is also a good idea for the kids. One year, at our daycare party, Santa came with a large sack of cleaned stuffed animals that were sourced second-hand. The kids just reached in and pulled one out, no wrapping and no waste whatsoever. My youngest child still treasures that toy and talks about how he got it from Santa's bag.
Make New Traditions
Just because you grew up with the holidays one way, that doesn't mean we can't switch gears and make new, more conscious traditions now. Rethink how you celebrate and where unnecessary trash and spending comes into play. For example, each year we bake loaves of pumpkin-cranberry bread for our neighbors, Now, instead of wrapping in plastic, we use foil or a tea towel. On Christmas Eve everyone gets a book, but instead of covering in paper, we just hand them out. It's still special and a surprise.