The holidays are a time to reflect on the past year and spend time with loved ones. For many people this means cooking food to feed your family, friends, and neighbors. So how do you participate in the upcoming holidays without making massive amounts of food? Is it even possible to travel sustainably? Check out our tips on sustainable holidays!

Travel:

Are you traveling for the holidays? Is your relative or friend also? Why not carpool! Carpooling will save you money in gas, reduce your carbon footprint, and give you a chance to catch up with others this holiday season.

Trying to drive out of the city can be frustrating, especially when everyone else is as well. Try checking train schedules, which may be able to provide you with a more relaxing trip while lowering your energy usage.

 

Food:

Very often people are so sick of holiday food that leftovers get tossed after sitting in the refrigerator for several weeks. Why not make less food? If you know you only have a couple of people coming over for dinner, why make enough to feed 20?

Don’t use paper or plastic throw-away products which just end up in landfills. Use sturdy and reusable plates, bowls, glasses, and cutlery.

If you’re like me and generally have to go to 3 dinners, let them know ahead of time! Plan a “progressive” dinner, have appetizers in one place, main course in another, and save the last meal for dessert. Warning your hosts ahead of time will allow them to prepare the proper amount of food, meaning less waste. It will also offend them less when you refuse to eat more mashed potatoes.

Another option is to try going meatless this year, as meat takes much more energy to produce.

If you can’t skip the meat, try buying local or free-range. These animals travel a shorter distance, so use less energy is used. Check out this blog entry by Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), about buying local turkey for the upcoming holidays.

Go local! The produce that comes from local sources is supporting local agriculture and is better for the environment and you. Be sure to BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag!

Compost! All those leftover scraps from apple peels and squash rinds can go straight into the compost. This diverts waste that can be used as a resource away from a landfill and helps to grow new produce! Check out Project Oscar for community composting here in Boston.

 

A few extra tips:

All that cooking can sure heat up a house, as well as running around to tend to guests--try turning the heat down (or off) when you have family over for the holidays. This will save you money and you’ll hardly even notice the difference with all the commotion!

After dinner, instead of heading out to do your holiday shopping, try spending some time outside with family and friends. When you’re doing your holiday shopping, why not shop local? This supports your local businesses and is often less crowded than some of the larger stores. (They very often have great sales as well). Read about Mayor Walsh’s #5onMain challenge here.


While geared towards the upcoming holidays, use these tips year round when hosting friends and family to create more sustainable gatherings.

 

Be sure to check out Greenovate's old holiday post as well!


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