How to Have a Sustainable Holiday: 12 Tips

Sustainability is the practice of making choices that will have positive repercussions for the planet. And for those parents living an eco-conscious lifestyle, these practices seep into everyday life, from the mundane chores and gear you buy your kids to the Hallmark moments. So if you’re looking to make movie magic during the holidays but want to keep it eco-friendly, read on for our top tips to have a more sustainable holiday. 

1. Use Sustainable Wrapping Paper 

Many families may find themselves surrounded by piles of ripped wrapping paper after opening gifts during the holidays. And while wrapping paper can be recycled, you can still take your sustainability a step further by purchasing sustainable wrapping paper or repurposing other paper or fabric materials to use as gift wrap. Newspapers, old fabrics, tea towels or tissue paper can all work as a wrapping paper alternative.

One of our favorite sustainable options for wrapping paper is Wrappily. They are 100% plastic-free and can be recycled or composted just like your daily newspaper.

2. Shop Secondhand

secondhand toys & presents

We all know that secondhand doesn’t mean lesser value (especially when shopping with trusted resellers like us). In fact, shopping secondhand can help reduce the amount of plastic baby gear and toys that are manufactured (and later found in landfills) while saving you money

The environmental and cost savings attributed to shopping secondhand are vast — did you know that American parents could save over $91 billion annually? And don’t worry that it won’t be well-received: 71% of people are open to receiving a pre-loved gift. Plus, if you want to make sure you’re getting your goods from a retailer as trustworthy as Santa’s workshop, check out our holiday gift guide complete with a large selection of eco-friendly gift ideas. 

3. Shop Earth-Friendly Toys 

With an ever-growing focus on sustainable production and consumption, many companies have sprouted that focus on environmentally-friendly toys, gear and clothes. Do your research to pick out some earth-friendly brands that provide what you’re looking for so you know exactly where you’re investing your money. 

Here are a few of our favorites: 

4. Give the Gift of Quality Time 

You know the old adage that good things come in small packages? Sometimes good things don’t come in packages at all. A fun night out, day of play or just normal quality time can be a gift just as meaningful to your loved ones as something expensive that they’ll get tired of in a few years. Be creative about how you can give time as a gift and have fun together as a family. 

A few ways to give time as a gift to your little ones:

  • Give your kiddo a stuffed animal along with their trip to the zoo
  • Plan a full-day adventure complete with a printed itinerary 
  • Invite friends or family who they don’t see very often to make the day extra special 

5. Opt For Something Handmade

You don’t have to be an expert crafter to show someone you love them with a handmade gift. In fact, a personal handmade present can be even more meaningful than something store-bought. Grandparents especially love handmade DIY gifts from little ones. Making something with materials you already have on hand can be a special keepsake that will be meaningful, affordable and earth-conscious. 

A few handmade crafts that are sure to melt hearts: 

  • Hand-drawn cards or artwork
  • Photo prints with hand-decorated picture frames
  • DIY necklaces or bracelets 

6. Get Creative With Your Decorations 

Holiday decorations usually involve snowflakes, glitter and lights. Instead of buying new every year, think of ways you can repurpose stuff you have on hand or even craft your own decorations with the kiddos. A few oranges and twine can become a holiday garland, and tissue paper can become snowflakes hanging from the ceiling. Turn on the tunes, make some hot cocoa and get creative with your kiddos to deck your halls in a special way. 

7. Light Up With LEDs

LED lights are proven to be more sustainable (and cost-effective), lasting longer and using less energy. So before you turn your house into the Griswold’s, shop for LED holiday and Christmas lights for your outdoor and indoor displays. They work the same as regular holiday lights, but are better for your wallet and the planet. 

8. Recycle Your Tree

Here at Goodbuy Gear, we’re all about donating or recycling your used items so they can be put to better use. Same goes for Christmas trees! If you have a live tree, you can reuse it by cutting it into firewood or wood to use for mulch, crafting projects or anything else. Most cities also have recycling programs where they’ll come get your tree and put it to good use. The National Christmas Tree Foundation has great resources for recycling your trees. 

9. On That Note, Buy a Live Tree 

While you might think it makes more environmental sense to buy an artificial tree that can last you years, it’ll actually take about a decade of owning your plastic tree before it has the same carbon footprint as live trees. Plus, with tree recycling programs and many uses for a real tree after the holiday season ends (who doesn’t love a roaring fire?!), there are many reasons to go live. 

10. Shop Local and Organic Before Feasting 

Local food sellers often have much better sustainability (and humanitarian) practices than the mass-produced stuff. Plus, doesn’t it feel good to know exactly where your feast is coming from? Hit local grocery stores or farmer’s markers to get all the goods you need to make your holiday feast — no pesticides allowed. 

11. Don’t Throw Away Those Gift Bags

While shredded wrapping paper can’t usually be reused, gift bags can. Instead of throwing away or recycling gift bags during gift-day cleanup, fold them and put them away to use next year. To be even more sustainable, you could gift gifts in plain-colored bags so your gift recipients can use them for holidays that aren’t during the holiday season. 

12. Send E-Cards Instead of Snail Mail 

GoodBuy Gear Gift Card hanging from a Christmas tree

Holiday cards taped to a door, wall or window might be a romantic sight, but in reality, it’s a lot of single-use paper that could be put to better use. And an E-card sent right to your loved one’s phone will pack the same punch without the environmental impact. 

E-gift cards are also a sustainable way to help parents get what they want or need. The GBG E-card, for example, can help families purchase the eco-conscious baby gear or toys they want. 

Sustainable Holiday Gift Ideas 

There are many ways to have an eco-friendly holiday, from buying secondhand to investing in eco-conscious companies. Let’s look at some fun, cute or silly sustainable gift ideas for kids. 

Looking to give awesome holiday gifts while still ending up on the planet’s nice list? We’ve got you covered. As an online consignment store, Goodbuy Gear is a sustainable option that still lets you buy quality toys in working condition. Shop our guilt-free holiday marketplace to get something great for every kid on your list — and make sure you check it twice. 



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