75 Ideas for a Simpler, Greener, More Intentional Christmas

As the holidays approach, it can be easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle of gift-giving and decorations. But what if there was a more meaningful way to celebrate Christmas? This year, why not opt for a simpler, greener, and more intentional holiday season? Here are 75 ideas to help you make your Christmas celebration eco-friendly, purpose-filled, and truly memorable. From thoughtful homemade gifts to token gestures with an environmental impact, these creative suggestions will help you embrace the true spirit of the season. Put down the paper wrapping and plastic packaging, and cherish the moments that really matter this Christmas.

1. Give handmade gifts.
2. Switch to LED Christmas lights
3. Or better yet, forgo Christmas lights altogether.
4. Spend less so that you can give more.

5. Avoid the mall if you can.
6. Give gifts of time and skills instead of stuff;  teach a friend how to knit, snap another family’s Christmas card photo for them, and shovel your neighbor’s driveway.
7. Carpool your Christmas errands with a good friend. Not only will it save gas, it will be tons of fun!
8. Order your Christmas turkey from a local farm.
9. Give your kids a family activity each day of Advent instead of chocolate.
10. Have a live potted Christmas tree and plant it in the yard when the holidays are over.
11. Decorate an outdoor tree with edible decorations for the birds.
12. Find creative ways to wrap presents without wrapping paper.
13. Avoid disposable dishes at your holiday parties.
14. Go caroling.
15. Volunteer.
16. Pack an Operation Christmas Child box.
17. Sponsor a child through Compassion International.
18. Take a casserole to a family that is suffering a loss.
19. If you are buying gifts, consider companies that work to improve conditions for women around the world, like 31 Bits.
20. Decorate with nature.

21. Avoid television commercials and magazines, they’ll make you want things you don’t need.
22. Email your Christmas cards. It will save money and paper. Plus, people who do want a paper copy to post on their fridge can print it!
23. Give thrifted and upcycled gifts.
24. Instead of exchanging gifts with your spouse, consider carving out some quiet time together doing something you both enjoy.  You’ll save money, avoid the extra clutter, and probably enjoy it far more than whatever you could have bought each other.
25. Watch a Charlie Brown Christmas Special in your pajamas.
26. Enjoy some Homemade Hot Chocolate.
27. Invite your neighbors over for charades.
28. Bake with your Kids
29. Assemble gingerbread houses
30. Find somebody who doesn’t have family nearby and invite them to join your family celebration.
31. Walk, instead of drive, around the neighborhood to view the Christmas Decorations.
32. Make an alternative gift registry for your family, encouraging family and friends who want to give you gifts to choose handmade items, gifts of time, or charitable donations in your name.
33. Visit a Pioneer Village.
34. Buy a cow or a goat or a well for the developing world.
35. Have a budget. Stick to it.
36. Freeze your credit cards.  Like, freeze them in a block of ice so that you would have to wait for them to defrost before you could use them.
37. Visit an old age home. Let your kids make handmade cards for all the residents.
38. Play in the snow.
39. Make a rink in your yard and invite the neighbors to use it whenever they please.
40. Do without a Christmas staple, such as a tree or turkey, so that you can give one instead to a family who is struggling.
41. Do something nice for your pastor – I bet he’s exhausted.
42. Be vigilant about recycling any cards or gift wraps you receive.
43. Call your grandmother.
44. Buy local.
45. Don’t read the flyers that come with your weekly newspaper.  They are designed to make you buy things you wouldn’t otherwise buy.
46. Rally your friends together to collect a load of food for your local food bank.
47. Have smaller Christmas stockings (and therefore fewer stocking stuffers!)
48. Knit a lovely pair of mittens and hand-deliver them to a homeless person.
49. Put on socks and a sweater and turn your thermostat down a couple of degrees.
50. Avoid trends and theme decorations.  Trends turn to trash very quickly. Instead, decorate with what you love.
51. Remember your reusable shopping bags when heading to the store.
52. Instead of buying a new Christmas CD, make a playlist using your favorite songs from the CDs you have.  It will feel like a new compilation but won’t cost a dime!
53. Help young children to make meaningful homemade gifts for their siblings.  Teach them young that Christmas doesn’t come from a store.
54. Smile more. I promise it will make everyone’s Christmas brighter.
55. How about a 100-dollar holiday?
56. Don’t buy gifts out of obligation; doing so is more about your feelings than it is about the recipient, and meaningless obligatory gifts are likely to end up clutter in the back of the recipient’s closet.
57. Check out these printable gift exemption vouchers.
58. Purge half of your Christmas decorations.  Clean-up will be so much easier! Maybe you can give the excess to a women’s shelter or some other charity that could use some extra cheery holiday decorations.
59. Instead of buying fancy Christmas dresses or outfits for your kids, consider choosing a more versatile outfit that can be mixed and matched for many occasions throughout the year.
60. For hostess gifts, bring a local wine, cheese, or whatever delicacies your community produces.
61. instead of material gifts, ask grandparents to teach your kids a skill they have, such as knitting, bread baking, woodworking, or bicycle repair.
62. Put up some Buy Nothing Christmas posters at your local shopping center.

63. Borrow, instead of buying, any serving or cooking items you may need to host your big family dinner from somebody who isn’t hosting one this year.
64. You can save some stress on Christmas Day by roasting your meat the day before and serving it on Christmas Day sliced and warmed up in a crockpot full of gravy.
65. Spend Christmas morning doing an act of service in your community.  A family we love does this every year and this year they are letting us tag along with their tradition!
66. Anonymously pay another family’s electric bill.  Someone did this for us one year and it was a huge blessing.
67. Sew a pillowcase for the Million Pillowcase Challenge.
68. Go downtown with some friends on a very cold night in December and hand out hot chocolate to anybody stuck out in the cold.
69. Gather the family beside the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and pray by candlelight together for those who are suffering and in need.
70. If you have young kids, sing Christmas carols while you do the dishes together.
71. Commit to 25 days of random acts of Christmas kindness like this blogger and her family did!
72. Avoid buying plastic stuff.
73. Make Christmas pizzas as a family.

Christmas Tree Mini Pizza - Julie's Eats & Treats

74. Avoid the “Black Friday” chaos and observe Buy Nothing Day on November 23rd.
75. Don’t exhaust yourself trying to do everything in a big list like this, just choose a few small simple changes that mean something to you and your family and take the time to enjoy the people you love this Christmas season!

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