• cathy king

Helpful Hints for a Sustainable Holiday season


As you may know, my preparation for the Christmas holiday starts in October. Specifically, I start by making a plan for what needs to get done. I have found that creating a list enables me to cruise through the season with a sense of peace and control. I like to begin with my end goal in mind. For example, Christmas decorations need to be fully up and ready by Thanksgiving day. This enables me to fully savor all of my decorations and lights while also spending time with family. It also frees up time to think about and plan for the many holiday parties and events that seem to fill up the calendar. Full disclosure, although I kick this time off with the best of intentions, I inevitably end up missing something, which is why I am sharing my list of helpful considerations with you.


- Decorating -

  • Do you need to purchase decorations?

  • Do any decorations need to be replaced?

  • Have you scheduled help for hanging the lights if hanging them is outsourced?

  • What are your plans for the Christmas tree (live, artificial, none)?

  • Have you tested your holiday lights? This a good time to know in advance that you have lights to be replaced (with LED of course).

  • Do you have timers on both your indoor and outdoor lights?

- Food -

  • What do you need to make vs cater/outsource? Pies, Cakes, Cookies, Chocolates

  • Think ahead to avoid supply chain issues to get what you want. Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin, and cream cheese have all been hard-to-get items during past holidays, to name just a few.

  • By having a list of your needs, you can avoid potentially making additional trips for missed items, thus helping you and the environment.

  • Keep in mind that no baked desserts or treats are more sustainable.

-Dishes -

  • Use the china, skip the disposable paper and plastic single-use products.

  • Doing the dishes can make for a fun “after-party” social activity.

  • An alternative is to source compostable disposable dishes.

  • If you are giving food gifts, try your best to give them in glass or non-disposable/non-plastic containers.

  • Remember that you can buy very inexpensive glass/metal used containers to bring and/or leave at parties.

- Gifts -

  • Clarify gifting for your family and friends. Is now the time to change?

  • Who needs to be shipped to in advance so that you know your deadlines for cost-effective shipping?

  • Will you be gifting any people early or late? Get them on the calendar.

  • Shopping local and small is a sustainable choice that can be made in advance, with no need to wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

  • Think experiences or consumables versus “stuff”. Maybe your list includes giving a new exercise class, dance class, music event, or art class. This experience could also be the gift of travel or dinner out.

-Volunteer/Charity -

  • What charities will you support this year.?

  • Volunteer your time with a food bank, food pantry, or shelter, and or donate to a food pantry.

  • Will it be an ornament from a charity tree?

  • Will it be charity gift-wrapping or donating your time?

  • If giving is on your list it is more likely to happen.

  • Charity can also be as simple as making a list of intentional phone calls and visits that you want to complete to show gratitude for those special people in your life.

You can also click here for more information on sustainable holiday choices. In the end, remember to spend time outdoors, get some exercise, hydrate, and then relax and enjoy the magic of the season.


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