How to Have a More Conscious Christmas

How to Have a More Conscious Christmas

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been wondering how to have a more conscious Christmas. Every year, I learn a bit more. Some of the things I’ve been considering this year are:

Is it better to get a locally grown tree, a living tree, or a high-quality artificial tree that will last for many years?

What is the best type of holiday card to send?

How can we stay present amidst overburdened schedules and family expectations?

Well, according to the experts, the tree preference is #1) Living, #2) Locally grown, #3) Cut tree that wasn’t locally grown or an artificial tree.

To save paper, experts also prefer e-cards versus printed cards.

And as far as the social issues go, it’s the same thing you do all year: Try to be mindful of your calendar, practice good self-care, and stay present.

Here are a few of the things we’re doing at Casa Watson to have a more conscious Christmas this year:

Conscious Gifting

  • We decided to buy fewer gifts and to be more mindful of the types of gifts we buy or add to our wishlists.
  • We’re looking at Fair Trade options before making purchase decisions.
  • We’re asking for digital goods or experiences instead of stuff.
  • Our Christmas cards were printed by environmentally conscious Paper Culture.
  • The adults in my husband’s family are participating in a Secret Santa gift exchange, as we have for years. It’s fun and means less shopping!
  • We’ll recycle spent wrapping paper and reuse gift bags—as we do every day.

Conscious Decorating

  • We purchased a living Christmas tree this year. It’s a drought tolerant variety that should fare well in California and give us a few seasons of use before repotting or planting.
  • We only decorated indoors to save on electricity and—let’s face it—time.
  • We’re incorporating natural elements into our decorations, including wood and pine cones that can be composted afterward.
  • We’re using what we already have versus buying new ornaments.

Conscious Celebrating

  • Last weekend, hubby and I decided that it didn’t yet feel like the holidays at home so we put on some Christmas tunes and spent some time together decorating the tree and our home. It was nice quality time.
  • We’re keeping mindful of our personal commitments. Since we’re both introverts, we need a lot of downtime between holiday visits and sometimes we have to say no to kind invitations.
  • Because people matter, though, we invited friends to join us for Christmas dinner. This is something my grandmother always did and, while I found it a bit uncomfortable as a child, I’ve grown to appreciate it as an adult living across the country from her family.
  • Throughout the year, we try to eat consciously. This is harder with the endless snacking options around the holidays, but we’re staying mindful of when to indulge and when to abstain, and savoring those treats we do choose.
  • We’re also trying to be conscious of our expectations and stay in the moment. It’s so easy to get caught up in the schedule, looking ahead to what’s next. As I write this, I’m taking a deep breath and remembering to relax and enjoy this moment of peace and quiet before my mom arrives tomorrow and the festivities really begin.

Future Improvements

Because we can always do better, here are a few things I’d like to work on next year:

  • If we need more tree lights, I’d like to go with more energy-efficient and longer-lasting LED bulbs.
  • I’d like to explore recycled and eco-friendly wrapping options.
  • I will be more conscious of buying locally and from small businesses although I must confess that I love the ease and crowd-avoidance of online shopping.
  • Both of our work schedules got a little hectic this December. In my case, I probably took on too much between launching a new program and planning a surprise Instagram challenge for January. Next year, I need to account for that by making more room for holiday downtime.

How are you celebrating a conscious Christmas this year? Let me know in the comments.

Kate Watson

P.S. For additional reading about eco-friendly and conscious holidays, check out: