10 Ways To Practice Sustainability During The Holidays

Posted on by Lavi Tang. This entry was posted in Whole U Program Information. Bookmark the permalink.

Practicing sustainability nearly feels impossible to do over the holiday season with it being such a busy time of the year, but UW Sustainability has provided us with ten suggestions to help! We encourage you to choose one or two actions from each category below.

Shopping & Buying Gifts

  • Purchase gifts that are long-lasting or that can be reused and later recycled.
  • Make your own gifts: edible gifts such as breads, cookies, cakes, dried fruits, nut mixes, canned goods, jams/jellies, or herbed vinegars make fantastic gifts. Use your arts and crafts skills to knit a scarf, crochet a hat or mittens, paint a watercolor, or design your own jewelry. Make a calendar by using family photos marked with important dates.
  • Plan a “re-gift” swap with your like-minded friends and family.
  • Bring your own reusable tote bag when shopping.


  • Make the wrapping part of a gift. Gardening pots are easy to fill with gardening supplies. A mixing bowl or stockpot makes an excellent package for your favorite cook. Utilize a dish towel for kitchen goods or a blanket for baby items to wrap your gift in a bundle and tie with a cloth ribbon. Use an old map for the traveler in your life, or the comics for kids. If you’re crafty, embroider a pillowcase and place your gifts inside.
  • Ask companies to ship your packages using paper instead of polystyrene packing peanuts. If you do receive packing peanuts bring them, and other styrofoam packaging, to shipping stores for reuse.

Holiday Decor

  • Energy Star qualified LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights are 90 percent more efficient than traditional Christmas lights and LED’s last longer.
  • Unplug unnecessary electronics when you travel whether it’s for a single night or a full week.
  • Choose your candles carefully: Many conventional candles contain paraffin, a petroleum-based ingredient that the EPA says can negatively affect your indoor air quality. Soy or beeswax candles don’t contain paraffin, so look for those whenever possible. 
  • String together popcorn and cranberries, or make garland out of old jewelry, small stuffed animals or toys, trinkets, memorabilia, cookie cutters, buttons, etc.

We hope you have a safe holiday season.  If you are feeling extra motivated, sign up for the 30 Day Sustainability Self Paced Challenge here.