When you think about your favorite holidays, what are the best parts? For most people, it’s relaxing with loved ones, enjoying traditions, and eating yummy food.
Unfortunately, gift-giving holidays can be extremely stressful for parents – and very wasteful.
The Center for Biological Diversity reports that U.S. households generate 23% more waste in December than in other months. This goes to landfills and incinerators, where it creates greenhouse gases. But that’s not the only problem! All those polyester clothes, novelty items, and electronics are made of fossil fuels. Wrapping paper creates pollution too, thanks to microplastic glitter and unrecyclable coatings.
Even if you’ve carefully selected the perfect gifts, it can be SO tempting to pick up extra junk at the last minute. Here are a few ways to make things magical while staying focused on your values:
1) Need just a few more presents? Consider giving time, experiences, or art. For example, make your child gift certificates promising that you’ll do a fun activity together, travel to their favorite place, or make a dinner they like. For relatives, remember they might cherish a child’s drawing or note more than a generic candle or gloves.
2) To choose a gift that’s easier on the planet, think about what it’s made of, and how you can dispose of it. Can you find a plastic-free version? Adventerra’s games and puzzles are a great example: all pieces are made of sustainable, non-toxic materials. They are designed to be sturdy and long-lasting, then can be recycled or composted when you’re done with them.
3) To wrap presents, look up videos on Furoshiki, an easy and pretty Japanese method using old clothes and scrap fabric. Thrift stores have low-cost sheets you can cut up, bandanas, and scarves. There’s no need for plastic tape, either. Just use twine or tie the fabric like a bow, and finish it with pinecones, twigs, or a sweet note.
4) Start a tradition of donating old toys before the holidays. Then, show your kids that reused items have value in your family too. Try getting some items secondhand. Young kids won’t care if that climbing triangle or scooter is pre-loved if it’s amazing to play with!
5) Many parents are overwhelmed by an avalanche of gifts from well-meaning relatives. Give them better ideas by creating a SoKind page. Operated by the nonprofit Center for A New American Dream, this registry lets you ask for gifts of time, service, and pre-loved presents. You can ask for a day of baking with the grandparents, or a zoo trip with the cousins. If your relatives prefer physical gifts, ask for green games and toys, or consumables like yummy treats.
Adventerra combines the words “adventure” and “terra,” the Latin name for earth. It reflects our mission: to create exciting games that help kids protect the planet! Check out our other educational eco games, and follow this blog for more parenting tips!