The environmental impact of our holiday celebrations

In the midst of the giving season it is often easy to forget the impact we have. To give also means to take away. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However we should keep in mind the impact that our actions have on others, ourselves and our environment. You might be surprised by some of the statistics of our holiday celebrations.


  • Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, there is a 25% increase in the amount of waste we produce in the United States.
  • This increase translates to an additional 1.2 million tons per week, or an extra 6 million tons for the holiday season.
  • If we all wrapped at least three presents in re-used/re-usable materials we could save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
  • If every family in the U.S. reduced holiday gas consumption by one gallon a week, the result would be an annual reduction in greenhouse gas production of 13 billion pounds (6.5 million tons) of carbon dioxide.
  • If we cut down on the ribbon we use by just two feet the result would be a enough ribbon to stretch for 50,000 miles.
  • Much of the 28 billion pounds of edible food wasted each year is done so during the holiday season.
  • Each year 50 million christmas trees are purchased and about 30 million go to a landfill.
  • According to the DOE holiday lighting consumes more than six terawatt hours per year. The equivalent of the energy use of 500,000 homes in a whole month.
  • It takes the average credit card user six months to pay off their holiday debt. This has an impact that is different for each individual. Could you imagine the leisure time you could enjoy and the gas saved by being able to work less?
  • For some suggestions on how you can keep green during your holiday, check out these links to some other wonderful articles on the Eco ETSY blog:

    Greener Frog makes green wraps

    Eco Wrap Your Holiday

    Decorating for a Home Party

    Happy Eco New Year!

    There are four to get you started. There are many great ideas on our blog as well as many great Eco ETSY shop owners willing to answer questions about greening you holidays (I being one of them).

    Here’s to you and yours,

    Have a happy holiday season!

    Beth Revels

    P.S. What are some ways you already keep you holidays green?


  1. great article! I just bought a book yesterday about greening your holidays! I’m already rethinking some of the things I know my family is planning on doing on Sunday.

    Every year I make sure to gather as many gift bags as possible so I can reuse them next year. I only bought 2 bags this year that I know I’ll reuse next year. I bought these great tote bags for everyone this year that are made from recycled plastic bottles.

  2. We no longer wrap our presents in anything if it isn’t already on hand. I don’t even like to wrap in scrap fabric because then it calls for ribbon and I know someone else might throw it away after unwraping. I also refuse to go into debt for Christmas shopping! If we don’t have the cash, they don’t get the gift. That means there isn’t a whole lot of “one for them, two for me” kind of shopping…I shop with purpose & do most of it online (100% online this year woo hoo!).

    How else do I Green my holidays? I make sure to eat and drink as much as possible. Who can stand to hear about that much waste? Not that my waist is happy, but I like to know I’ve done my part :-)

    Great article!

  3. Excellent article!!! I will share on all social networks Beth. Thank you.

  4. While the statistics are a bit unfortunate, I think it’s still important to remind ourselves of our ability to celebrate the holidays responsibly. The suggestions that you posed are simple and easy to do, thanks for the tips Beth!!
    Happy EcoHolidays