How to Have a Low-waste and Animal-friendly Holiday Season

How to Have a Low-waste and Animal-friendly Holiday Season

The holidays are here! It’s a time for gratitude, sharing, and reconnecting with friends and family. It’s also a time for shopping and entertaining, which – unfortunately – can mean a lot of unnecessary waste and an increase in animal product consumption. Here’s what I’m doing to keep my holidays waste-free (almost) and animal friendly.

Shopping and Gifting

I’m staying away from excessive packaging.

And, wherever possible, I’m going package free. This has been challenging because I don’t typically have control over how my purchases are packaged, but I’m doing my best. I’m starting by shopping locally. Buying things online may be easier and more convenient, but it’s definitely more wasteful. Think of all the bubble wrap, styrofoam peanuts, and cardboard I’ll save!

I’m also turning to package free shops like Package Free. Package Free has something for everyone on my list. I’m happy to support them because they’re committed to offering great products to anyone living a low-waste lifestyle.

I’m reusing wrapping paper.

True story, I haven’t bought new wrapping paper in close to 15 years. When I was little, my mother and I started a tradition – we saved all our Christmas wrapping paper and used it year after year. Now, I practice the same tradition with my husband. It’s a wonderful way to keep memories of christmas past alive while being kind to mother earth.


I’m going au natural with my decorations. 

So many holiday decorations are made from materials that are not biodegradable – plastic, styrofoam, nylon, etc. This year, I’m staying away from that stuff. It’s easy to use natural materials to make beautiful holiday decorations. I’m turning to flowers, seasonal candles, and ornaments made from wood. I’m even making a centerpiece out of old family photos.

I’m also keeping it simple.

No need to go overboard with decorating this year. In fact, I’m a big believer that less is more. So instead of decorating the entire exterior of my home with tiny holiday lights, I’m using found evergreen branches and berries. Easy and simple. Elegant but not wasteful.


I’m relying on produce more than ever before. 

This year, I’m replacing some of my traditional holiday dishes with plant-based ones in hopes of driving demand for meat and dairy down – even just a little bit. Over the past few months I’ve uped my veggie intake a lot. And surprisingly my husband doesn’t hate it (most of the time). Here are some of his favorite recipes.

I’m choosing meat and dairy that are animal welfare certified. 

The truth is, I’m not Vegan. I aspire to be. I stick to a mostly plant-based diet because I don’t agree with the way animals are farmed. However, my husband does eat meat and I do all the cooking.

So, when I buy animal products, I only buy from farms that adhere to very high welfare standards. It’s so important to buy meat and dairy from these farmers. Use this Shop With Love Grocery List from the ASPCA to make sure you’re meat, dairy and eggs are sourced from farms that believe animal welfare should always come first.


I’m washing a dish and saving a fish. 

I know using disposable plates, cups, forks and knives may save time and energy during the very busy holiday season, but single-use flatware is awful for the environment – especially the plastic stuff. Most of it ends up in our oceans chocking wildlife. If I’m being honest with myself, I don’t have a good excuse not to wash dishes. That’s just lazy.

Again, I’m keeping it simple.

If you’re like me, it’s easy to get caught up in being an over-the-top hostess. When I’m prepping for holiday dinner parties, my first instinct is to go above and beyond which usually means I’m buying things I don’t need. What I’ve found most helpful is sticking to plan. When I’m shopping, cooking or decorating, I make a list and stick to it.

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