1. Shop ahead to avoid next-day delivery: Your procrastination for gift shopping means more juice to bring it to your front door. Plan ahead this holiday, use ground shipping then sit back and relax.

2. Turn down the thermostat: Opt to wear a sweater and cozy up to blankets instead of blasting the heat. You can also open the blinds during the day to let in the sun!

3. Take an eco-friendly approach to holiday light displays: Switch to LEDs or solar lights for a more festive, sustainable holiday season. And don’t forget to use a timer – save the light show for people who are away to appreciate it!

4. Eat less red meat and dairy: Go for chicken or vegetarian meals, and when possible eat produce that’s in season.

5. Reduce food waste: Compost as much as possible while cooking, and while eating try to serve yourself small portions and then go back for seconds if you’re still hungry.

6. Shop locally: Choosing locally produced foods and gifts helps reduce transportation emissions, and local businesses will appreciate your patronage.

7. Be an environmentally conscious gift wrapper: Select recyclable/recycled wrapping paper, reusable gift boxes or DIY wrapping strategies this holiday season!

8. Celebrate in (second hand) style: Holidays = holiday parties. Revamp your old outfits or visit your local thrift store (or best friend’s closet) to help reduce manufacturing demands and keep clothing out of the landfill.

9. Give gifts that promote sustainability: Water bottles, garden supplies, bicycles and tote bags make great gifts while promoting a healthier and eco-friendly lifestyle!

10. Bring your own bag: Take a tote when holiday shopping, it helps cut down on plastic or paper bag use, and will certainly hide any distinguishable packaging from suspecting gift receivers!

11. Package up your decorations: Invest in good storage crates and reuse old magazines/newspapers to cushion fragile items. You’ll keep things safe from breakage, dust and going to waste until next year.

Which of these tips will you use? How will you practice sustainability this season, and into the new year? 

These tips were inspired by a holiday sustainability resource from MPH@GW, the online MPH program from the George Washington University.


  • Allegra Balmadier works at 2U, Inc., focusing on digital outreach of 2U’s university partner programs in the tech, nursing and public health verticals. If she's not writing you can find her at a kickboxing class or looking at cat adoption sites.