As an American expat living in Ireland, I don’t participate in Christmas abroad in the same way I did when I lived closer to family and friends. Instead of buying and giving physical goods, I gift far-away loved ones with experiences. For example, a gift certificate for a restaurant I know they’ve wanted to try.
As a newer holiday tradition, I donate to One Tree Planted and gift trees for my niece and nephew. It seems to me that the next generation needs more trees, not more plastic, and these two now have a forest of 550 trees and growing.
As I thought about all of the things I love about the holiday season, I also thought about the waste that accompanies this time of year. From Thanksgiving to New Years Day, household waste increases by more than 25 percent and an additional one million tons of waste head to landfills each week, making it an especially important time of year to focus on planet-friendly choices.
I asked other NortonLifeLock employees about their going green and giving back holiday traditions, and my heart grew three sizes hearing their stories. I hope these six suggestions inspire you to consider adding a new tradition to your life this year.
- Give back and lend a hand, offers Amy Marchiando, Social Media Marketing. Several years ago, Amy wanted to incorporate more thoughtfulness and compassion into her everyday life and give her children a tangible example of lending a hand to others. “I reached out to our local daytime drop‐in homeless shelter. While they have no shortage of volunteers to serve hot meals, they did have a need for quick sources of “grab & go” protein. Based on their recommendation, our family started hard boiling large quantities of eggs at home and we deliver to the shelter monthly for distribution. While it is a small, modest gesture, we enjoy helping fill a need in our local community,” Amy says.
- Give instead of gift, offers Cass Averill, Global Program Manager in the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. “Instead of exchanging material items make your gift a donation to a charity or group that the person you’re gifting to personally cares about - and make the donation in their name. This is a great way to let someone know you’re paying attention to what they care about and that you support their interests,” he says.
- Give back to those who need it most, encourages Paige Hanson, Chief of Identity Education, who founded Arizona Blessing Bags for the Homeless. For six years she has been assembling blessing bags for people experiencing homelessness in her community. “I have a bucket in the office where many of our colleagues put their toiletries after their business travel. Each gallon sized bag we put together has many essentials to help someone in need,” she says.
- Go green and gift recycled, suggests Kim Allman, Head of Government Affairs. “My kids and I have found coffee mugs, scarves, hats and mittens made from recycled materials and are looking at making some homemade gifts this year. We’re excited to cut down our environmental impact,” she says.
- Give back and share extras, offers Mathias Hoelzli, Manager, Information Security. “With the holidays, my family tends to overcook and have tons of leftovers. We give back by making trays and bringing them to a local alcoholism rehabilitation center. You can see the residents faces light up for a hot meal. It’s way more satisfying than throwing away leftovers that get forgotten in the fridge,” he says.
- Go green and re-gift, Cass suggests. “Consider items you have that you don’t use anymore, and that someone else would really love (art, knickknack, book, clothing, jewelry, toy, tool, etc.). Re-gifting something that a friend would use and enjoy also gives you the gift of more space and less clutter in return. It’s a win-win!”
- Go green and wrap reused, offers Paige. Traditional wrapping paper isn’t recyclable and each year huge amounts of this quickly torn up paper end up in landfills. “We reuse gift bags and tissue paper in my home. It’s a good way to reduce your footprint!”
From using plastic free toilet paper to donating toys for tots, purchasing a set of reusable utensils for your office to skip the plastic ones to using LED lights, there are so many ways to Go Green and Give Back during the holiday season.
I wish you all a happy, healthy, and eco-friendly holiday season!
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