Eco-Friendly Holiday Guide

Yasmina Mansour, Sentry Staff Reporter

The holiday season is upon us which means bright lights, wrapping paper, obnoxious sweaters and more are finally being busted out. Yet these trademark traditions are quickly jeopardizing the most joyful time of the year. From gift-giving to decorating, the holidays are the season people tend to live excessively, but that does not mean the environment must also endure excessive damage. While the conversation around climate change has been rampant for the past few years, it always seems to go mute around December. However, you can still enjoy the holidays and be eco-friendly at the same time. 

Christmas Lights:

Christmas lights are a staple around the holidays; from eye-catching light shows to twinkling trees, they are unavoidable. However, these displays come at an environmental cost. Light pollution, energy waste and increased carbon emissions are all potential risks of these festive exhibits. Opting for LED lighting is one way to celebrate while still being sustainable. These energy-efficient bulbs consume less energy and their production releases less carbon than traditional lights. To go a step further, turning off the lights when they are not in use can decrease light pollution. 

Wrapping Paper:

Additionally, everyone wants to give beautifully wrapped presents. This year, however, it is time to rethink using plastic wrapping paper. The tape, glitter, ribbons and any other ornamentation on the paper make it unrecyclable. This excessive use of plastic sends about $12.7 billion worth of wrapping paper to landfills every year. Before you reach for a holiday bag, there are some alternatives to consider. Old newspapers and magazines make for unique and personalized gifts; the key is choosing a funny or meaningful article. Items of clothing like scarves can not only be used to wrap the gift, but can be a part of it too.  


During the holiday season, many flock towards fast fashion stores in search of the perfect gift. However, these brands, like Forever 21 and Lululemon not only profit off of human rights violations but are one of the highest polluting industries. Additionally, the clothing is not made to last long, meaning these synthetic pieces will soon find themselves in a landfill. Avoid gifting from these stores this year, and instead, look for alternate businesses. Before you buy from a brand, a quick Google search will reveal if the clothing is considered fast fashion or not. Thrift stores and small businesses tend to be more environmentally friendly, and not to mention more fashionable.     

This holiday season, before getting caught up in the hustle and bustle, take a moment to consider how you can reduce your ecological footprint on the Earth. With a few simple changes this year, you can joyfully celebrate not only the holidays but also your positive impact on the environment.