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Mary Mazzoni headshot

3p Staffers Share Their Sustainable Holiday Traditions!


We all have our yearly holiday traditions: a favorite dish, a treasured carol or that family gathering you wait for all year long. But do you stop to consider the environment amidst your holiday merriment?

Here at 3p, we strive to weave sustainability into everything we do. So, we asked our staffers to share a sustainable holiday tradition. From our family to yours, we hope these small ideas can give you a little inspiration this season.

Have a sustainable holiday tradition you'd like to share? Tell us about it on social media using the hashtag #3pholiday or share in the comments below.

Nick Aster: 3p founder and publisher

"Our family reuses ribbons year after year and generally uses the morning newspaper to wrap presents. It looks kinda cool, actually!"

Click here to read posts from Nick.

Jen Boynton: 3p editor-in-chief

"On New Year's Day, my late grandmother's birthday, my family always gets together for a fancy brunch. The photo above is from our New Year's Day gathering while visiting family in Hawaii last year. While we leisurely eat our way though plate after plate, we review the past year's highlights and challenges. It's a great opportunity to reflect on everything we've accomplished rather than focus solely on what's to come. There's always plenty of champagne to toast to a sweet new year."

Click here to read posts from Jen.

Jan Lee: 3p correspondent

"In lieu of gifts, we donate to charities in the name of a relative or friend. We usually pick a charity that reflects the specific interests or focus of the individual or family. So, one family will receive notice of a donation to an organization that helps improve parks and other amenities for local kids in their metro area, while another will receive a card from a wildlife organization that supports endangered species. It's a great hit at both Chanukah and Christmas."

Click here to read posts from Jan.

RP Siegel: 3p correspondent

"We fill a Ziploc with some food, warm clothes, a dollar or two, a Christmas card, and such and hand it out to homeless people we happen across."

Click here to read posts from RP.

Tom Schueneman: 3p correspondent

"Ever since I can remember, one of my favorite Christmas decorations was a simple Christmas tree lamp consisting of a cone-shaped piece of cardboard with sparkles on the outside and little slits up and down the cone. It rested on a pointed bracket over a standard, blue-coated lightbulb. As the lightbulb heated up, the rising warm air pushed through the slits on the cardboard tree, making it spin around.

"Not necessarily a high-tech or sustainable design, but I still put that old tree out every year. Admittedly a little tired looking now, it is the same lightbulb that came with it when my parents bought it in the mid-fifties, a couple years before I was born. The modest little tree powered by the heat of a light bulb has sustained the joy of Christmas in our family for decades."

Click here to read posts from Tom.

Tina Casey: 3p correspondent

"We have a live tree, which will get chipped for mulch after the holidays. The lights and ornaments are from various thrift shops, not for the sake of sustainability, just for the sake of having unusual (and inexpensive) ornaments."

Click here to read posts from Tina.

Mary Mazzoni: 3p senior editor

"My parents and I have purchased evergreen trees with root balls every holiday since my childhood. After making their appearance as the yearly Christmas tree, decorated with mostly heirloom ornaments, we planted the firs, pines and spruces in the front yard. Each of the evergreens seen above is a reminder of holidays past -- and our yard grows more beautiful by the year!"

Bill Roth: 3p correspondent

"Once the kids were in high school, my family stopped giving each other Christmas presents.

"Instead we gave the money we would have spent on presents to charities that helped others. No gift wrapping to throw away, no fighting for parking spaces at the mall, no gift returns … a reduced environmental footprint plus the satisfaction that we fulfilled the Christmas spirit by helping those in need."

Click here to read posts from Bill.

Lesley Lammers: 3p correspondent

"I bought a small pine tree that is a house plant, and I'm using it as my Christmas tree this year ... I also buy used holiday tins at Goodwill, cook lots of treats and reuse the tins to send the goodies to friends as presents."

Click here to read posts from Lesley.

Marissa Rosen: 3p social media director

"Something I've done in the past is forgo giving material gifts, and instead give each family on my shopping list a group donation to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). That way, they get a card that says "you saved an elephant, thanks to Marissa's holiday donation for you" or something like that, instead of a useless purchase of an item that they don't need!"

Click here to read posts from Marissa.

Renee Farris: 3p correspondent

"My tradition is to read Nick Kristof's Holiday Gift Giving Guide and give gifts with meaning alongside regular presents. My large family draws names for Christmas gifts, so I only give a handful of people presents. This year I gave my nieces and nephew Legos, books, games and the gift of education to a girl for a year. One sister-in-law I gave mixing bowls, a dish drying rack, and (for a mere $25) eyesight to a blind person. I gave another sister-in-law a clothing gift card and helped disadvantaged minority school kids since she's a school teacher.

"For a ladies' Secret Santa gift exchange, I bought a solar lamp for a refugee ... then decided to give candy instead, since I didn't know how a donation in honor of the person would be received. Wish I would have stuck with the lantern. Most of the nonprofits I donate to for Christmas have cards that can be printed, mailed, or emailed to let my gift recipient know that I donated in their honor. When relatives ask me what I would like for Christmas, I always include donations to my favorite nonprofits.

"I also like to give gifts in reusable Christmas cloth gift bags. The reusable bags have seen many many Christmases in my family! They recirculate every year."

Click here to read posts from Renee.

All images courtesy of the TriplePundit team. 

Mary Mazzoni headshotMary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni, Senior Editor, has written for TriplePundit since 2013. She is also Managing Editor of CR Magazine and the Editor of 3p’s Sponsored Series. Her recent work can be found in Conscious Company and VICE’s Motherboard. She is based in Philadelphia.

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