How to Reduce Waste During the Holidays

These easy to follow tips will inspire you to reduce waste during the holidays without putting a damper on the festivities at all!
How to Reduce Waste During the Holidays #greenliving #eco #smallspaces #sustainableliving #sustainable #sustainability #sustainablechristmas #holidays #christmas #wastefree

If you’ve been hanging around here for a while, then you know I’m all about finding ways to reduce waste in pretty much every spot of our home. You might think the holidays put a damper on this, and they do a little, but there are still ways to stay on top of it! All you have to do is be a little bit intentional about your actions and it’s easy as pie. Here’s what we plan to do around #mytinybungalow this holiday season to keep our waste in check.

How to Reduce Waste During the Holidays


First and foremost, you want to prepare for throwing less away. This could require a little bit of time and research, but it’s worth it for Mother Nature, right? Right! By reading this post you’re already doing this, so hopefully I can provide you with some good resources and ideas to create a little less trash. After implementing lost of these tips, we were able to ask the city for a smaller trashcan… which means we’re even saving some money on our utilities bill!

Reusable wrapping ideas

If you want to invest in some cute, reusable wrapping paper I think this reusable fabric gift wrap is a great option. You can use it year after year and the colors are quite festive. You can also collect bags and tissue paper from gifts you’ve received and save shipping materials to reuse. Luckily, as a blogger I receive a lot of packages, so I’ve been hoarding really great packaging in the studio for just this reason. Additionally, you could kick it old school and use newspaper. If I go this route, I put my own personal spin on it by painting some festive patterns over the print. Another fun way to wrap a gift with zero waste is to try a Furoshiki wrap — especially with a vintage textile. That’s basically like two gifts in one. When you get creative, there’s almost always something around the house that you already have that can act as wrapping paper.

Shop local to avoid shipping materials

I like ordering from Amazon and various online stores as much as the next person, but I also love, love, love shopping local. Whether it’s to reduce waste or to just support your local economy, shopping local is always a good idea in my opinion. A lot of small shops even use brown paper bags that work perfectly as gift wrap. Just don’t forget to ask them to remove the price sticker first!

Use recyclable materials

If you are going to buy gift wrap or order from online, try and focus on using recyclable materials and/or reusing the materials. This may seem like a really small action to take, but that’s what being green and eco-friendly is all about. It’s the small daily things like using recyclable materials that add up to making a big difference.

Give thoughtfully

As I’ve gotten older, this is something I’ve tried to focus on more and more around the holidays. It’s all about quality over quantity. So instead of giving lots of small gifts, go for one high-quality gift. And when I say “small gifts”, think silly gag gifts that might be funny for a minute, but eventually end up in a landfill somewhere. We even have a rule that stocking stuffers must be ‘needs only,’ including things like socks and lip balm.

Send digital Christmas cards

While I love the tradition of Christmas cards, but man is it a waste of paper. Also, I’d like to know who are the people who save the cards that were mailed to them? I definitely do not have storage space for that! I only keep the ones that have personal notes written in them, like from Sean or my BFFs. The good news is most paper can be recycled, but to prevent the waste to begin with, going digital is always a good idea! If you don’t know where to start with this, there are fancier services you can use, but you can also whip up a great card using Canva, download it and email it for free!

Have a live tree that can be replanted

If you prefer getting a real tree every year, switch from the cut variety to a potted, living one. This idea honestly never really occurred to me until recently, but you can buy a living tree in a pot from your local nursery! You can decorate it just like normal except there may be some occasional watering, and then when Christmas is over you plant it! How cool is that?

Any other good ideas for reducing waste? I’d love to hear more tips from you!

P.S. you can find even more self care and wellness tips for the holidays here, including:

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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