We at Life University sincerely hope that your holidays are merry, bright and full of joy. Yet, we encourage you to think critically about how you spend the winter holiday season, focusing on how to live out Lasting Purpose through sustainable means. Students familiar with our B.A. in Human Ecology program understand our commitment to seeking out mindful solutions to the 21st century’s pressing complex social and environmental problems in all aspects of life, including how we celebrate the holidays.

In that jolly good spirit, let’s lay out some sustainable holiday tips for a holiday you can be proud of!

(Adapted from OneTreePlanted’s article, “15 ideas for sustainable holidays”)

  • That’s a wrap on standard wrapping paper. Most commercially available wrapping papers and bags on the market use unstainable inks and shiny foils, rendering them unrecyclable. If you have a newspaper reader in the house, consider using that instead. Otherwise, it might make sense to invest in some holiday-themed reusable bags for this purpose and store them for use next year.
  • What’s on your table? Remember to shop for local meat and produce for your holiday dinners for fresh, delicious meals and less harmful environmental impact.
  • The tree debate. Is it better for the environment to get a real Christmas tree or an artificial one? Since artificial trees are reusable, it might seem like they are the sustainable choice, but in fact, a Christmas tree from a sustainable Christmas tree farm is considered to be the more ethical and sustainable choice. This is because real trees are biodegradable and useful when broken down, while artificial trees contain metals and plastics that will stay intact for thousands of years in landfills. So, if you do get a Christmas tree this year, consider purchasing a real one from a small tree farm near you.
  • Lead with LED. Save money and help the planet by switching your holiday lights to LEDs. It will save you about $50 this holiday season on your energy bill as they use 90% less energy than standard, as well as releasing less heat and lasting about 200,000 hours.
  • A card that cares. Try to get holiday cards printed with recycled and/or recyclable paper. Or, send an e-card.
  • Gift an experience instead of just another thing. Often times, people just don’t need another set of gag gift socks or a mug they have no space for. Instead, give something that provides something for them to look forward to in the near future – a concert, a comedy show, a museum membership … the options are as unique as your loved ones are. Even gift cards (preferably digital for less plastic) to a favorite restaurant or local business can be a great choice.
  • Donate to charity in honor of someone. It’s really frustrating if you have someone on your list who really doesn’t need or want anything in particular. One heartwarming idea that can solve that problem is to find a charity that person supports and make a donation in their name. For example, donations can be made on behalf of a loved on to the Life University Scholarship Fund.

Slice of LIFE is an invitation to and extension of everything happening at Life University. Whether you are a current student, a potential freshman or a proud alum, Slice of LIFE can help keep you connected to your academic community. Know of a compelling Life U story to be shared, such as a riveting project, innovative group or something similar? Let us know by emailing Marketing@life.edu.