Celebrate Sustainably: 5 Ideas for an Eco-Friendly Holiday at Home

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But for many families with festive plans and hectic schedules, it’s also the most wasteful.

Americans routinely toss about 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than at any other time of year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.[Note 1] With our busy holiday schedules, many of us also forget to take steps to shrink our carbon footprints and prepare for a more energy-efficient winter.

Luckily, it’s not that hard to plan for a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly celebration. Here are five ideas for ringing in the holidays without overstressing Mother Nature.


Even simple tweaks—such as sealing windows and doors or upgrading to more energy-efficient window coverings—can reduce your carbon footprint.[Note 2] And dialing back your thermostat by seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day can trim up to 10% from your bills.[Note 3]

Consider a home energy assessment to help you pinpoint areas for adjustment. You can use the Department of Energy’s DIY Guide or you hire a professional, such as a home energy auditor or weatherization contractor.[Notes 4,5] Call us for a recommendation or referral.


Luckily, you don’t have to trade style for sustainability when making your holiday decor. Consider crafting decorations out of secondhand finds or upcycling items already in your closet.

For example, you could transform an ill-fitting sweater into a holiday-themed pillow or turn teacups into candles. And if you do purchase store-bought decor, look for environmentally friendly options, like LED lights, which use far less energy than incandescent.[Note 6] Similarly, if you celebrate with a Christmas tree, think twice about choosing an artificial version. Plastic trees may be reusable, but natural trees are generally thought to have a smaller carbon footprint.[Note 7]


Shopping online or at the mall may be convenient, but it can be costly for the environment due to the greenhouse emissions from manufacturing and shipping. Rather than buy new, check vintage stores and consignment shops for gifts that you and your recipient can both feel good about.

According to research, most people are open to receiving gently-used presents, especially if they’re socially-conscious members of Gen Z.[Note 8] And if you prefer to buy something new, look to local businesses that source or manufacture their goods nearby. We’d be happy to share a list of our favorites.


Swapping your meat for beans isn’t the only way to “’green” your holiday meal. For example, you can consciously source your meat from ethical sellers and prioritize local producers for seasonal sides.[Note 9]

You can also minimize food waste by planning ahead so that you don’t cook more than necessary. Once you’re finished eating, either freeze the leftovers or send guests home with reusable containers. And if you have unopened food items, take them to a local food bank or collection site. We’d be happy to share a list of options in our area.


Once the festivities are over, the real work on behalf of Mother Nature begins. Sort through wrapping paper and ribbons, unwanted packaging, and other discarded items. Your goal should be to reuse or donate what you can and compost or recycle what’s left over.

It can also help to reimagine new ways to make old traditions more eco-friendly. For instance, if lighting candles is part of your celebration, consider choosing beeswax versions that are non-toxic and biodegradable.[Note 10] There are also plenty of earth-friendly ways to dispose of a natural Christmas tree. If you’re not sure how, reach out for a list of local options.


We can still celebrate a fun and festive season without draining our community’s resources. And remember, we’re here to lend a helping hand, now or in the new year. This is the perfect time to strategize your next move or set some real estate resolutions with personalized guidance from an expert. Reach out for a free consultation.

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.


1. Architectural Digest

2. Energy Star

3. U.S. Department of Energy

4. U.S. Department of Energy

5. Kiplinger

6. U.S. Department of Energy

7. Eco Watch

8. Thred Up

9. Popular Science