Inspired Learning
Environmental Club Shares Earth-Friendly Holiday Tips

Mid-Pen's Environmental Club created a newsletter to help our community celebrate the holidays while being kind to planet Earth. Read on for their holiday tips. 

General Holiday Tips

  • Avoid metallic
  • Avoid glitter
  • Don't use tinsel
  • Recycle wrapping paper 
  • Turn off decorative lights during the day or while you're away 
  • Reduce overall food waste 
  • Compost all extra food, and buy local organic products!

Wrapping Paper Alternatives

  • Fabric 
  • Paper wrapping paper - avoid the shiny parts
  • Reusable gift bags
  • Baskets 
  • Pretty but unwrapped boxes
  • Newspaper 
  • Don't recycle any wrapping paper with… 
  • Glitter
  • Velvet
  • Metallic colors 
  • Small amounts of tape can be recycled, though large amounts should be put in the trash.


  • Fiber/string ribbons can be recycled! Get those!
  • Don't recycle any ribbons with glitter, metallic colors, or anything shiny 
  • Cut all tied ribbons in half before recycling or trashing them to avoid choking animals
  • BAGS
  • Reuse holiday gift bags!
  • Avoid bags with glitter, metallic colors, or shiny parts! They can't be recycled

Holiday Baking Clean Up


  • Clean aluminum
  • Clean saran wrap
  • Empty ingredient packages
  • Don't recycle: 
  • Anything with food residue 
  • CLEAN chocolate coin foil CAN be recycled!


Try to buy:

  • Pesticide-free
  • Organic
  • Local foods (farmers markets)
  • COMPOST extra food waste!

Environmental Gift Ideas
For animal and plant lovers:

  • Adopt an endangered animal or donate to an environmental organization in someone's name!
  • Adopt an elephant
  • Adopt a wolf
  • Plants!
  • Gift bee-friendly plants
  • Gift butterfly plants
  • Gift trees 
  • For foodies:
  • A sustainable coffee shop gift card or ground coffee
  • Verve coffee shop in Palo Alto

Practical Gifts for Anyone Trying to be More Eco-Friendly

  • Reusable face masks
  • water bottles
  • Farmer's market gift card
  • Homemade gifts
  • Cookie mix in a jar
  • DIY garden

Gift Tips

  • Gifts that don't require batteries
  • Stuff stockings with natural, local treats such as oranges


  • Online shopping 
  • Choose minimal packaging  
  • If there's no option for minimal packaging, email the seller to request environmentally friendly shipping
  • Email the seller to avoid packaging peanuts
  • Recycle or reuse all boxes, bags, and tissue paper 
  • Shopping in real life
  • Try to complete shopping in one trip
  • Carpool when traveling to shopping centers
  • Use public transportation as much as possible


Christmas Trees:

  • Alternative trees such as Trader Joe's Rosemary trees
  • Keep your artificial trees for the long-term 
  • Make sure plastic trees are free from toxins such as fake snow!
  • Use energy-saving LED lights on a timer.
  • Recycle your real trees or buy them from your local nursery/farm
  • Get or make sustainable ornaments

 New Year Celebration:

  • Avoid metallic confetti! Use paper instead. 
  • DO NOT RELEASE BALLOONS. They WILL choke a bird. 
  • Avoid glitter decorations


  • Transport
  • Try carbon offsetting your flights if you can
  • Research more eco-friendly airlines if possible
  • Prioritize public transit during your trip
  • Residence 
  • Look for eco-friendly places to stay (hotels with solar power, effective waste treatment, etc.)


  • Try and minimize the use of disposable travel items 
  • Be respectful of the environment you visit
  • Conserve water and limit energy use
  • Avoid harmful recreational activities
  • Choose eco-friendly souvenirs 


  • Recycle Christmas lights! 
  • Use natural decorations (branches, pinecones, dried fruits)
  • Decorate a tree for the birds
  • Reuse or buy second-hand decor 

Places to Donate

  • Arbor Day Foundation
  • National Park Foundation
  • Sierra Club
  • news