Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it’s time to really embrace the holiday season. I can’t wait to crank the Christmas music, drink almond milk egg nog, and spend tons of time with friends and family. One thing I am trying to do this year is reduce the amount of waste this season will unfortunately produce. Every year, literally tons of waste ends up in the landfill – as I mentioned in my post about making your own recyclable wrapping paper. But we’re not just wasting paper.

The average person will spend $885 on gifts this year, according to a recent Gallup poll, an amount that has increased year over year since 2011. BUT after the holidays are over, returns hit a high with 20% of all returns happening during or immediately following the holidays and equates to about $60 million.

Did that get your attention?

I know – I like money, too. But before this starts to sound too Scroogy/Grinchy – here are a few ways I’m trying to lessen the amount of waste my gift -giving will produce this year.

Reduce Holiday Waste Without Feeling Like a Grinch

Send Cards Via Email

Getting mail is one of my favorite things in the world. But since the invention of email, the only person who sends me cards for the holidays is Chris from State Farm. The last few years I’ve just opted out of sending any cards at all but I do miss sending my friends and family little reminders that I am thinking about them during the holidays. So this year, I’m getting my butt in gear and sending some holiday cards using Paperless Post. They have tons of beautiful options. I especially love the designer options from Kate Spade New York, Sugar Paper, and Rifle Paper Co. However, this one has stolen my cold Canadian heart and I’ll probably be sending it to all my Canadian friends and relatives.

Ask People What They Want for Christmas

Surprises are the best. There really isn’t anything better than thinking of “the perfect gift” and it totally working out in the end. Unfortunately, I don’t think that happens as often as we’d all like to think. So this year, I’m taking a different approach. Instead of guessing (and let’s be honest – stressing) what people want, I’m simply asking them what they would like. And if they won’t tell me or can’t decide then I will wrack my brain for something super thoughtful and practical to wow them with.  I know – it’s super lazy. But my hope is that my people will end up with gifts they’ll actually love, enjoy, and use. I won’t waste money (and time) on things they won’t like. Not to mention, my stress levels will stay low. Everyone wins.

Wrap Presents Without Paper

For the past couple of years, I’ve completely stopped using store-bought traditional wrapping paper and switched over to 100% post-consumer content paper. It’s basically just post paper – the stuff you’d use to wrap a package to be mailed in. I even managed to get almost the whole family on that train, too. I don’t know how successful this will be but this year I’m going to try and not use any paper at all. Honestly, I am not even 100% sure how I am going to pull this off, but I’m going to try. Getting lost for hours watching those Furoshiki videos is something I have completely done (I dare you to watch and not do the same) and I’d love to give that a try. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for ideas, and I’ll share them here if I have any success.

Do Away With the “One for You, One for Me” Adage

As a marketer, I am painfully aware of the tactics used to sell things to people that they may or may not need. One said tactic around this time of year is the “one for you one for me” adage that everyone throws around like confetti on New Years Eve. It’s fun to treat yourself but little things add up and at a time when you’re already going to be spending more money than any other month, it’s important to keep track even if you’re not particularly concerned about money.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Paperless Post. All opinions and suggestions are my own.