Often overshadowed during the holidays is the amount of excess waste generated in comparison to the rest of the year. Just how much extra waste exactly? According to Stanford University, Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Christmas season, or about 25 million tons of garbage. Although the holidays are very busy for most, it’s important to keep our planet in mind as we celebrate this joyous time of year. So, today’s “12 Days of Thriftmas” entry is focused on how we can create a more sustainable approach to Christmas without sacrificing any of our favorite holiday traditions.

First off, ditch the gift wrap. According to a recent report, we spent $12.7 billion on gift wrap in 2017. Not only are we throwing away our money, but we’re throwing away this wrapping paper after just a single use. Even worse, most of the wrapping paper we buy isn’t even able to be recycled. As an alternative, try using brown paper, newspaper or even magazines! Likely, you’ll have a few of these things hanging around the house already and using these items can even add a more personal touch to your gift wrapping. Speaking of gifts…

Consider gifting eco-friendly items that aren’t made entirely of plastic, or any plastic at all! Some great examples of eco-friendly gifts are concert/sporting event tickets, spa visits, season passes to someone’s favorite theme park or gift certificates to a favorite store. Each of these items can be very thoughtful and will greatly reduce waste.

If you’re going the traditional route of gifting a tangible item, then consider shopping for presents secondhand. According to Bloomberg, more than half of Americans are open to receiving pre-owned gifts this Christmas. Shopping secondhand is a great way to reduce environmental impact. Annually, Palmetto Goodwill diverts more than 16 million pounds of waste and e-waste from our landfills. Additionally, shopping secondhand is far less expensive than purchasing an item off the shelf from a traditional retail store. Check out our gift guide for parents as proof that you can score amazing presents for incredible prices.

Lastly, when hosting a holiday gathering, be sure to have re-usable dinnerware and glassware instead of single-use paper products. Furthermore, consider carpooling to and from holiday events or shopping trips. Carpooling means less money spent on gas and more saved for the holidays!

So, as we inch closer to Christmas morning keep in mind that an eco-friendly holiday can save the planet and your wallet!