The holidays are full of fun, family, food and gifts.  It really is a magical time of year.  It is also a time of year that has a very large environmental footprint.  

First off what does your “environmental footprint” actually mean?  The Cambridge dictionary defines environmental footprint as: “the effect that a person, company, activity, etc. has on the environment, for example the amount of natural resources that they use and the amount of harmful gases that they produce.”  

One of the ways people affect the environment is plastic usage.

“Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments.” As found by the Ocean Conservancy. 

How much plastic waste do you generate annually?  Check out this Plastic waste calculator.  I bet it is more than you think.

Here are a few ways you can reduce the amount of plastic you and your family is using this holiday season.

Recycled Toys

So much of the plastic waste found in landfills and the ocean is made up of children’s toys.  Quickly think of the amount of plastic toys you have gifted to a child or that your child has received.  ALOT.

As a response to the plastic crisis, many eco-conscious toy companies are popping up.  Using recycled plastic milk jugs and other creative tactics, aiming to make an impact on the plastic crisis one toy at a time.  For example, Green Toys specializes in making toys that are environmentally friendly.

From cars to tea sets, they have all the most popular toys, just in recycled form.  The price tag is slightly higher, but you are paying for a premium product and doing your part to help save the Planet.  All toys are made in the USA with safety as their number one priority. Not to mention even the boxes that the toys come in are recyclable and each box that is recycled saves a gallon of water. 

“Every pound of recycled milk jugs used to create a Green Toy product saves enough energy to power 3,000 AAA batteries, a TV for 3 week or a laptop computer for 1 month,” as stated on their website.  Pretty crazy right?!

Gift Experiences vs. Stuff

What about purchasing experiences for gifts instead of stuff this year?  Experiencing something new with family and friends is a fun and memorable way to spend your holiday funds and help reduce gift waste.   

Experiential gifts for Men and Women


Experiential gifts for Kids


Gift Exchanges

This year, instead of buying a gift for everyone in your family, mix things up with “Secret Santa” or a “White Elephant gift exchange.”  My family does a version of these each year and it is a blast.  Not only do you save tons of time and money on shopping for each member of your family, it is a fun interactive activity to add to the Christmas day events.


With these 3 easy changes, you will save tons of time, money and decrease your footprint on planet Earth this holiday season.  What better gift could you give...


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