UConn Office of Environmental Policy

Promoting sustainability at UConn


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Greening up the Holidays

eco-friendly wrapped presents

The holidays are always a great time of year when you get to have time off from school, spend time with your family and decorate the house to spread holiday cheer.   Many people feel generous during the holiday season and are compelled to donate money or food to charitable organizations or even to lend a hand and volunteer.  While all this is great, there is one thing that we forget to consider.   Unfortunately most people neglect to think about the environment during the holiday season.   However there are plenty of ways you can green up your holiday, check out these tips that range from travel, to trees, to decorations:

  • If you’re sending presents to distant relatives, you can package them in old brown paper grocery bags instead of buying new shipping paper
  • Get creative with your wrapping!  You can wrap presents with a variety of things including old calendars, maps, sheet music, posters, wallpaper scraps, comics etc.  These wrapping ideas not only save paper, but they’re pretty interesting and unique.
  • For a fun edible decoration you can sting popcorn, cranberries or other fruits to hang around the house and when it’s time to take down the decorations you can eat them, compost them, or give them to the birds
  • It’s always a great idea to save and reuse whatever you have from previous holidays, you can reuse old gift bags and boxes or reuse old decorations.  You can even regift a gift!  If you’ve ever gotten something you don’t like or never used, think of someone who would appreciate the gift and give it to them (this saves you money and cleans up a little of that household clutter!)
  • When a friend or family member says they “don’t want more stuff,” take them seriously!
  • Often times just being with someone is better than getting a present from them, so instead of buying someone a present, take them out to dinner, a movie, or whatever you like to do best.
  • If you can’t avoid traveling long distances to spend the holiday with your family, consider buying carbon offsets to counteract negative impacts of your flight or drive.

For more tips visit these websites to make your holiday as green as possible!

Everyday Green Blog

5 Big Ways to Green Up Your Holidays

Green Holiday Tips and Ideas