Create an annual celebration cycle
Holidays are a time to celebrate the passing of the seasons and to connect with our families and traditions. They provide a rhythm to the year and a time to renew our hopes for the future. This season, create an earth-friendly celebration cycle that prioritizes reuse, regifting and reimagining.
Reusing items that we already own is a great way to cut down on holiday waste. Curate your holiday decorations to include reusable items that have meaning to you and your family. Resist the urge to splurge on that 6-foot-tall, bluetooth-connected, singing nutcracker by rediscovering treasures that you already have in your collection. Attaching a memory or anecdote to your holiday items allows your family to relive and share stories each year. Transform decorating for the holidays or setting the table, into a storytelling celebration of family lore.
Rather than opting for the waste of paper plates and napkins, break out the fancy stuff! Turn the celebration up a notch by dabbing that cranberry sauce off your face with a re-useable fabric napkin. Celebrate by saying “Good day, sir!” to your save-it-for-the-company plates, silverware, or serving dishes. Not only are they special, but they are also reusable and don’t need to be composted.
Regifting is a polarizing concept but stick with me. Being on the receiving end of a ceramic clown set that inspires more fear than lighthearted whimsy, is a strong argument for redistributing the wealth of the holidays.
Regifting is also a great opportunity to give long-admired grown-up items to children. A favorite baseball cap from grandpa’s collection or one of mom’s fancy fountain pens is a personal gift that tells your child you trust them with a valued possession. This type of “re-gift” can inspire pride in “growing up” for kids and serve as a physical reminder that they are worthy of trust.
Age-appropriate heirlooms and ceramic clown sets aside⸺regifting can also include the ribbons and wrappings you received last year. Repurpose those saved “bits and bobs” to make this year’s gifts sparkle. Cut down on wrapping waste by regifting decorative boxes, baskets, and bags!
The past few seasons have shown that reimagining our traditional mind-set can be the key to moving forward sustainably. Use this time of year to reflect together and make adjustments to what your family prioritizes. Are there traditions that no longer serve your family and can be let go? What about creating new traditions that value equity and kindness to others? Re-imagining our smallest habits can cut down on physical waste and free up more time to focus on what really matters.
This season, keep and cherish what you can re-use and let go of some things by re-gifting them. Making small⸺even imperfect⸺efforts each year creates a larger celebration cycle that carries habits past the holidays and into a more sustainable future.
Extra Bonus: Recycle
Recycle your tree and holiday waste to create earth-friendly habits all year long.
Remove all items from your tree before dropping off, including lights, wire, hooks, ornaments, tinsel, and fake snow.
- Fort Collins: https://www.fcgov.com/recycling/atoz/items/?item=136
- Greeley: https://greeleygov.com/services/recycling
- Loveland: https://www.lovgov.org/services/public-works/trash-recycling
Boxes and paper can often be recycled through your curbside pickup. Check with your provider to confirm which items can be placed in the residential co-mingle bins.
Based in Fort Collins, Emily Zaynard is currently scrolling through TikTok and should probably put her phone down. When she’s not watching content online, she’s creating, writing, and designing on a deadline. Emily believes in stopping into art museums, historic homes, and cat cafes and hopes to travel again soon!