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5 Ways to Be More Mindful This Holiday Season

5 Ways to Be More Mindful This Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us, and this is often the time of year when we begin to reflect on what we have been blessed with, and who and what we’re grateful for. It’s also a time when a lot of decision making happens. Between scheduling holiday travel, prepping big meals, and assembling wish lists, this end-of-year period can be very hectic. As you’re wading through all of these big holiday decisions, why not consider putting an eco-friendly spin on them to make your actions more mindful and sustainable? Here are 5 ideas that can help you make this holiday season more planet and people friendly! 

  1. Give Experiences Instead of Things 
  • Here at Albatross Designs, we are big fans of alternative gifting. Alternative gifting is when you opt for things like experience gifts, locally made items, or sustainable & reusable goods, over traditional items that are often made in unsustainable ways and are superfluous anyway. Experience gifts, like restaurant gift certificates or sporting event tickets, are particularly great because they are plastic free, eco-friendly, and probably encourage your friends/ family to try something they might not have otherwise. We recently made this blog post with a bunch of great experience gift ideas, and some additional ideas include subscriptions to online learning programs, like MasterClass, Skillshare, or even a language learning website. 
  1. Integrate Plant-Based Options into Your Holiday Meals
  • While the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are traditionally thought of as meat-heavy meals, the side dishes are ripe with opportunity to sub in vegetarian or vegan options. Not only are some meatless sides great for any plant-based eaters who may be joining you for the meal, they’re also healthier for you and the planet! And integrating a vegan side dish can be as simple as swapping out the cow’s milk and butter that you use for the mashed potatoes with some almond milk and a vegan butter. Serving a delicious vegan or vegetarian dish is a great way to showcase a dish you love to your friends and family so they can make it all year long.
  1. Buy Second Hand Decorations or Or Make Your Own 
  • While you can typically find a few holiday decorations year round at thrift stores, most stores like Goodwill will have their full stock of holiday decor on display by the time November rolls around. This is a great opportunity to snag some quality decorating supplies that are both planet-friendly and low cost. You could also go another budget-friendly, fun route and make your own decorations! There are plenty of family friendly holiday craft ideas out there, from tree ornaments and advent calendars to window art and other trinkets that will brighten up any holiday display. Bonus points for reusing your decorations year after year! 
  1. Opt for Reusable Tableware
  • If you know you’ll be hosting a large group of people this year, it may be beneficial to set some time aside to plan out your reusables strategy. That is, determine how many reusable plates, cups, utensils, etc. you have on hand and how many you’ll need to accommodate your number of  guests. We know that washing a bunch of dishes can be a hassle, but since reusable items waste so many fewer resources than their single-use, disposable counterparts, this really is the more environmentally friendly option! If you do need more dishes than you currently have, this is another opportunity where a second hand store like Goodwill can come in handy. As long as you’re comfortable with an eclectic assortment of plates and cups, thrift stores usually have a pretty decent and very affordable selection of items like these. There may also be a dish rental service in your area, like this one from Sustainable Haus Mercantile. With a rental service, you will probably still be required to wash the dishes, but at least you won’t have to find a place to house them until next year’s festivities! 
  1. Help Make Someone Else’s Holiday Season Special 
  • If you have the time and are able, it’s always a worthy endeavor to give back this time of year. It’s an unfortunate fact that the holidays aren’t always a magical time for every person, but there are plenty of ways that you can get involved and help make this a better and more special time for other people. Albatross team members have helped assemble shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, an organization dedicated to bringing the joy of the holiday season to children around the globe. Some of our team members have also participated in a similar but more local mission with Angel Tree, which enables people to share both gifts and essential items like socks and toothbrushes with the children in their area who are in need. You can also call up your local soup kitchens and shelters to see if they could use some additional holiday volunteers.
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