Sustainable Celebration for the Holiday Season

Did you know Americans generate 25% more waste during the holiday season? In the City of Boulder, a major part of our carbon footprint is generated by our consumption and waste

This Chanukah, decrease your carbon footprint by changing your consumption patterns and commit to making a change with Hazon’s Brit. Please remember to stay safe when doing your holiday shopping and follow state guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Ways to make your Chanukah more Sustainable

Change the way you Gift: Though it’s not a traditional part of the religious experience of Chanukah to give gifts, many of us add gifts to our Chanukah traditions. However, according to a study done by the City of Boulder, one of the top contributors to our communities’ carbon footprint is the amount of stuff that we buy and consume. Try changing up the way you gift using these tips:  

Gift Experiences, not stuff

- Take a virtual class together - So many places are offering fun virtual classes this season, including
Boulder JCC.
- Gift a membership or subscription - Memberships are available for many different interests: art and
   science museums, butterfly pavilion, or the botanic gardens, to name a few. Try gifting a subscription
   to an audio book, music, or television streaming service. Maybe a subscription to an online fitness
   program. Some musicians or artists (like
Jeff and Paige) are also offering subscriptions.

Buy a Used Treasure

There are great vintage and consignment stores in Boulder. Check out this list from Yelp. Childish Things is a favorite for gently used kids clothes and toys. You can also shop used online at places like Patagonia Worn Wear and Poshmark.

Give Tzedakah

Donate money to your loved ones’ favorite cause. Some have the tradition of giving tzedakah instead of gifts on the fourth night of Chanukah. It’s great to involve the whole family in giving. Consider planting trees for a loved one by donating to Boulder's JTree Project. Make sure to list "Boulder" in your donation comments so we can track our community's participation!

Gift Local Food

Ever thought of giving someone you love a CSA share? Or what about a gift from a local bakery or specialty food shop? The Boulder County Farmers Market is even extending their virtual marketplace all year and you can purchase a gift or gift card. You can also check out Colorado’s Food and Agriculture Gift Guide.

Give the Gift of Sustainability

Give something that will help your loved one live a more sustainable lifestyle all year round.

- Help someone grow their own food by gifting seeds, or even a whole vegetable garden!
- Gift a bicycle. Decrease your footprint even more by choosing a used bicycle from Community Cycles.
- Gift an RTD eco-pass or a B-cycle pass
- Help light up your loved one’s life with the gift of LED light bulbs or rechargeable batteries
- Items to live a zero-waste lifestyle like reusable bags, silverware, straws, mugs, etc.

Ditch the Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper is almost impossible to recycle, though Eco-Cycle accepts it for a limited time around the holidays. This year, wrap your gifts in a reusable gift bag or an upcycled material like packing paper or newspaper.

Give Cards that can be Recycled

If paper holiday cards are a must-have for you this holiday season, consider making one from an old calendar, or getting cards that are compostable, plantable, or made from 100% recycled material. Cards can’t be recycled if they are embossed, made with foil, or have extra embellishments like ribbon. Neither can photo cards. 

Involve your Children

Looking for some good resources to start the conversation with your children about changing the way you gift? Check out these videos and books

- Joseph had a Little Overcoat, by Simms Taback
- Something From Nothing, by Pheobe Gilman
- My Grandfather’s Coat, by Resmaa Menakem
- Shani’s shoebox, by Rinat Hofer
- Jeff and Paige: Zero Waste Gift Guide With Bobcat and Rattlesnake
Mikey Monster: Mikey's First Sustainable Channukah

Here’s a guide for parents on celebrating with less stuff.

For more gift tips, check out this guide from New Dream.

Buy Fair Trade Gelt

Chocolate gelt is a traditional part of our holiday celebration. But a lot of chocolate is produced without prioritizing workers’ wellbeing. This year make a difference and use fair-trade chocolate gelt.

Use Better Candles

Most Chanukah candles are petroleum-based. This year, try getting candles made from beeswax, soy, or even coconut wax. Even better - buy them from a local store, like McGuckin Hardware.

Decorate using Reusable Materials

Traditional holiday decorations are often designed for one-time use and can be impossible to recycle due to the foil or mylar content. If you like to decorate your house for Chanukah, make sure you decorate with reusable materials. Interested in making your own? Check out these articles:

This article outlines a bunch of different upcycled Chanukah craft ideas 
- Check out these Chanukah activity ideas to do with your kids from PJ Library: a lot of them involve
   upcycling or no trash at all!