The Holly-Jolly-Eco Holidays
*the cover photo depicts Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider, not champagne.
November brings the holiday season, and everyone is headed to Target, Walmart, party stores, and malls: anywhere to find the cheapest gifts, and materials for celebration But in all of those stores, the most common thing to find is plastic. Everywhere you look: plastic packaging, toys, candies wrapped with plastic, cups, plates, and more.
Just entering a party store, you see that most items are covered in plastic, planned to be easily discarded. The plastic problem just escalates, especially after the parties– there’s trash everywhere. Many plastics can be recycled, but according to National Geographic, 91% of plastic has never been recycled, since sorting it can be confusing, and most of it can’t be put in the recycle bin. After a party, especially during the holidays when parties abound, lots of plastics are thrown away in the wrong way and ended up in our oceans or in the forests. Plastic takes around 1000 years to decompose, so every time we buy plastic we instigatre industries to produce more and more, which results in the increase of animal deaths, ocean pollution, and environmental degradation overall. While our lives go on, it’s really easy to forget about climate change, and all the problems it brings.
But there are lots of ways to change the way you’re living to an ecologically productive way. If you’re going for a healthier way of living that can protect the world, be more eco LOGICAL, especially during this holiday season where we spend money with lots of plastics and polluting industries. The main question is how to replace plastic since is the most common material and is so practical and cheap for the companies. It is an addiction.
Since we can’t change our lifestyle overnight, a good way to start is changing the way we give parties and the materials we use. So here are some tips and ideas of what you can do to have an eco-friendly holiday.
It’s always hard to choose a gift for someone, but making it yourself is a lot more creative and fun and can be cheaper than buying one, and it can become a good memory. Senior Zoe Hill recommends to people that take ceramics or that now how to use clay to mold gifts for their friends and relatives. “Making coil pots with larger pieces of card that you can use it as a base. My mom is really into flowers so I decided I was going to make her that for Christmas because she likes to have flowers out, and it’s something that I made. I’ve made little pinch bowls, I’ve also made gifts for my boyfriend and small things for Christmas.”
A fun gift to do with friends is gift-cards, you just need some magazines, glue, scissors, cardboard, and some additional materials of your choice, like glitter, pictures, etc. If you are a crafty person and want to put effort into the gift, you can do a bullet journal in many styles, like traveler’s, japanese bookbinding, etc; search of the type of notebook you want to do on youtube, I recommend the traveler’s one, since it’s easy to do and cute.
Ingrid Schultv is a Junior here at TL, and just by watching some videos on youtube she learned how to make candles, which is a good gift to anyone. “Your pretty much just need to do the wax, which you can just use old candle wax or make it, and melt it, so you put it in a mold and let it in the fridge for like an hour to condense it. You can buy a mold or use an old one, and add any sent to it.” Go to YouTube and watch short videos about it to learn more.
You can also give handmade body scrubbers, they are easy to make, healthy, and you don’t have to worry about the chemicals. An example of body scrubber you can make is a brown sugar scrub for dry skin, you only need three ingredients. Go to https://clearandwell.com/healthy-brown-sugar-scrub/.
Everyone decorate their houses during Christmas (if you celebrate it) and most of the time we use the same decorations from last year and most times we buy something new so it won’t be that repetitive. Crafting and buying eco-friendly decorations is another good idea. With that in mind, freshman Arvin Chaudhuri recommends, “You can use plastic bottles for decoration instead of throwing it away. You can also make paper flowers using old newspaper and glue, and use it in anyway you like.” Recycling plastic is one of the best ways to create decorations, since it’s something that will last a long time and you can reuse it every year. If you happen to have plastic bottles, what you should stop buying, you can build a small Christmas tree with the bottom part of the bottles, tape and a supporter. You can have a really good time crafting decorations with family and friends, or even alone. If you don’t want to buy paint for the decorations, you can create some paint out of flowers or buying ecologic paint online. Using plastic cups, bottles, we can create a Christmas door wreath, grab many water bottles and cut the bottom. And then do cuts in the “folded” parts of the bottom opening it like a flower. Do it multiple times and glue them together by the bottom part. Go to http://www.diyhowto.org/diy-christmas-wreath-craft-ideas/diyhowto-diy-christmas-wreath-ideas-holiday-decoration-12/ for more info.
Engineering teacher Allison Oropallo gave us some ideas to do with wood if you take her class or know how to craft with wood, “I’ve got chalkboard paint, and used it to paint pieces of scrap wood, and then I used them as food labels with chalk. I’ve made cool wooden signs that say ‘happy holiday’ or ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ out of pale wood, and then you just paint it.”
If you don’t have time or just don’t feel like crafting, you can always search online for eco-friendly decorations and gifts. I recommend doing research before executing these ideas, and for more.
Doing some research you can find a lot of options to buy and craft, mainly with plastic bottles since if you put some effort in it, your decoration can look store bought! Have in mind that you will be also recycling and saving some money!
You can contribute within your community by creating a zero-waste lending library for parties, which our staff members here at TL started doing recently. The idea is, with a group of friends, each one can gather reusable materials and build a collection of decorations and plates that are portable, and can be used for Thanksgiving, holiday parties, school events, etc. If you want to learn more about zero-waste lending library, read https://www.unfetteredhome.com/how-to-organize-a-zero-waste-lending-library-for-parties-and-events/?fbclid=IwAR1FXDX85FmxD_8nK_xXGZ8xC6j9B6cSz06KrUQYow0pAw4t-Nvc_VCKTvc.
Other small details that haven’t been mentioned are invitations and utensils. Regarding invitations, technology enables us to reach out without paper at all (sites like paperlesspost.com and jibjab.com can make this fun and wasteless). Plastic plates and utensils are the most difficult items to replace for a party: no one wants to wash 40 regular plates, or clean the mess if someone breaks one. So, consider only finger food; or, check Amazon for ecologic plates, or Susty Party to find perfect materials for your Eco-friendly party since there are non-toxic materials and plastic-free. Go to https://www.amazon.com/s?k=susty+party&ref=nb_sb_noss_1. Or, just read the previous paragraph.
This article is intended to help you avoid using and buying plastic: all crafts here that include plastic in them are to recycle items you bought in a moment of bad judgment or desperation. We don’t encourage buying plastic. Happy Holly-Jolly-Eco-Holidays from The Voice!