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6 Tips for a Low Waste & Eco-Friendly Holiday Season!

I posted a picture on my Instagram a few weeks ago about making the switch from single use baggies to the reusable snack bags.  The amount of comments and love I received on that post was overwhelming (in comparison to the other images on my feed). What resonated with me was that people want so badly to make a difference, but the idea that you have to be perfect can often stifle our ambitions.

Before I launched Harper Ridley Homemade Goods, I read the quote, “Done is better than perfect”. Although I don’t believe this notion should be applied to everything in life, I do think it has a place in our extremely demanding lives.  I am nowhere near zero waste, however, there are a few small changes that I have made that I know are contributing positively to our plastic problem.

With the holiday season upon us, waste is a huge problem.  Many people overindulge in their consumption...of everything...goods, food, drinks, the list goes on.  So I thought I could compile a short, simple list of ways I am going to reduce my waste this holiday season.

1. Swap wrapping paper + tissue for fabric, reusable bags or boxes.

Unwrapping a gift is half the fun, especially for kids.  You can still experience the surprise of gift giving with fabric bags.  You can purchase them or make them yourself.  I saw these bags at Chapters this week if you decide to purchase or you could also check out "The Market Bags".  They are local to Kelowna, BC and they sell upcycled cotton produce bags and even have a holiday section currently!  Fabric bags last forever...I still have bags that my mom made when I was a kid.

2.  Second hand decor.

I love Christmas so much and at this point in my life, I have a pretty good stash of decor.  A lot of it has been handed down to me from my mom...I even have decorations from the Great Depression that belonged to my grandma.  These items are irreplaceable and it is important to teach our children that not everything can be easily recycled or thrown away and replaced. 

If you are just starting out, or you want to switch up your decor, check out your local thrift store.  There are always great finds to be found and many fun ways to make it your own (ex. Fresh coat of paint, using an item for a new or different purpose)

3.  Less meat dinners.

This will be hard for us, but I am committing to reducing the number of meals that include meat products.  My good friend, Heather, was kind enough to let me flip through the pages of the Jillian Harris + Tori Wesszer cookbook, “Fraiche Food: Full Hearts”.  This beautiful book has over 100 heart-warming recipes that incorporate vegan and vegetarian options that will be perfect for the holidays.


4.  Christmas toy exchange with friends.

OK, I promise, I am no Scrooge...I totally get the sentiment that Christmas is about the kids and wanting to give your child gifts to open on Christmas morning.  However, what we think kids want and what will actually make them happy are often not the same thing. Kids are excited when we are excited. A brand new toy or a gently used toy will bring the same excitement and cause a lot less waste.  Meet up with a friend with children in similar age groups and swap some toys.  

5.  Keep it simple : something they need, something they want, something to wear + something to read


This tip is connected to the last.  Try to limit your gift giving with this easy rhyme.  It will keep you accountable, as holiday marketing is very powerful and it can be hard not to get carried away.  I love getting new things for my kids, but only if it falls within these parameters and not to give away tip #6, but I will always try to purchase local.  Pro Tip: Our local Once Upon A Child has an amazing selection of books...for all ages...and typically the books are in great shape and only cost $2 or so.  I love buying the girls books and I came across this one recently that I couldn’t pass up. It’s called “An ABC of Equality” by Chana Ginelle Ewing.  It has beautifully engaging artwork and introduces children to extremely complicated concepts about social justice.  I look forward to reading it with them and encouraging questions and welcoming very important dialogue.

6.  Support local, handmade shops

When purchasing gifts for others, whenever you can, look for a local, handmade option.  When you purchase local products, you are supporting your community and your money is being reinvested into the local economy.  From my experience, the quality and longevity of the items is well worth the investment.  This adorable scrunchie is from Roseling Handmade.  I absolutely love this company and the quality of their products.  Since Harper is always wanting to borrow my scrunchie, I found this beautiful velvet pink one for her "something to wear". 


Like I said earlier, there are so many ways to reduce waste this holiday season.  Pick one...pick them one is perfect but we can make small changes that eventually can have a large impact.

What are some of your favorite ways to have a low waste, eco friendly holiday?


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