The Student Prints

The Student News Site of Sylvania Northview High School

The Student Prints

The Student Prints

Sustainable Christmas Gifts

Audrey Addington

Living in an age of shopping with little thought about its effect, it can be hard to keep in mind the impact we have on the environment. This is especially true during big buying holidays like Christmas.

Trying to be mindful of your shopping habits during the holiday season can be beneficial for not only the environment, but also your wallet.

According to, the average American consumer spends over $800 dollars on Christmas gifts, and a 2017 article reported that $16 billion worth of presents end up in the trash after being gifted. 

Here’s some easy ways that you can help reduce the problem during this holiday season:

  • Re-gifting- While it may seem unappreciative, or rude in a way, re-gifting can actually be a great option when done right. First off, make sure that anything that you re-gift is something that you would actually pick out for them, not just something random you found in the back of your closet. Maybe your Aunt Carol gave you a crochet set a few years ago, but you’re not really into crochet so it’s been living in the back of your closet. Enter your best friend Sarah who’s been wanting to learn to crochet. Perfect! (just make sure that you keep a mental note of who originally gave you the gift. Accidentally re-gifting it to them would be well… awkward)
  • Thrifting- Another great option for finding fun and sustainable gifts is thrifting. Not only is it a great way to save money this holiday season, but it also allows you to find some really original and good quality gifts. Along with this, shopping secondhand reduces the need for new manufacturing that Christmas largely contributes to, and you can find some really cool one-of-a-kind items. Books, clothing, jewelry, dishware, you name it, it’s most likely at the thrift store. For example, small vintage dishes with cute designs can be great to give as trinket dishes or room decor. Thrift stores also offer a great selection of fun clothing pieces for the fashionista in your life, sometimes brand new with tags. Just make sure with anything that you thrift that you give it a quick “quality check”, especially for clothing items, and wash before gifting. 
  • DIY- Love crafting? Even if you’re not necessarily a “crafting expert”, hand making your gifts this year can add a really personal touch that shows people just how much you care (plus it can be really fun). Hand-making your gifts gives you the ability to create something that is perfect for them. There are tons of tutorials online of different craft things you can make, or you can create something completely new just for them.
  • Long-Term Gifts- “Long term” or more practical gifts are also good options. While it may not be as fun, giving gifts that you know the person is going to use is a good way to help cut down on the holiday waste. Gifting things that you know people will use such as organizational items, customized calendars, and even money/gift cards are all great options.
  • Experiences- Getting a bunch of new things on Christmas can feel overwhelming for some. Another great option for gifting is to eliminate the material aspect completely and opt for an experience gift. Concert tickets, movie tickets, and escape rooms are all great examples of things you can purchase ahead of time to do together. Gifting experiences eliminates the possibility of you getting something they don’t like, and it’s more personal. Along with this, you both get the gift of creating fun memories together.

Along with this, being conscious of your wrapping can also make a big difference.

While glittery bows and fun patterned wrapping paper may make your gifts look super stylish this season, once it’s all been ripped open, the after effects on the environment are terrible.

According to Commercial Waste, in 2016, 227,000 miles worth of wrapping paper was thrown away. Not even including all the ribbons, bows, and other frivolous decor. That’s a lot of non-recyclable trash from just one holiday.

Reusing old packaging or switching out wrapping paper with other things such as fabric, craft paper, newspaper, gift boxes, and other recyclable materials are a great (and still stylish) way to cut down on Christmas waste.

Along with this, using reusable packaging such as glass jars and tote bags can also be a fun and useful substitution.

Overall, there are tons of easy ways that you can enjoy the gifting fun of the holiday season, while still keeping in mind your environmental footprint.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Student Prints Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *