‘Tis the Season for Sustainability

‘Tis the season for family gatherings, delicious food and festivities. Try these 12 tips to celebrate with sustainability in mind all year long:

Make a Plan

Encourage your friends and family to draw names for gifts vs buying something for everyone. This saves money and resources with the added benefit of spending less time shopping and more time with loved ones.

Go Natural

Choose to use natural resources like foliage, berries and branches as part of your holiday decor. If trees are part of your celebrations, consider purchasing a farm-grown North Carolina Christmas tree or even a living tree that can be replanted.

Buy Local

Make purchases from local farms, fisheries and businesses this season. Local purchases create stronger local economies and also reduce the impacts of transportation emissions.


North Carolina is home to ingredients and heritage foods that make your meals delicious. Incorporate locally grown plant-based dishes to boost wellness and reduce emissions.

Ready Your Reusables

Choose to use real serviceware this year to avoid unwanted waste. If you’re preparing a large meal, be sure to remind your guests to bring their own containers or ready some reusable containers to share any leftovers.

Make Memories, Not Waste

Time spent with friends and family is a gift worth giving. Visit the calendar of events at NC State, check out local festivals or plan a game night for activities you can do with loved ones. 

Sun Powered

Harness the sun to power solar twinkling lights that reduce energy use and costs. The next best bright idea is to choose LED lights if purchasing new. Remember to shut down lights not on display when possible.

Wrapping Alternatives

Use old newspapers, bags or boxes should you need to wrap a physical gift. Be mindful of wrapping papers as some cannot be recycled, such as metallic and tissue papers. When opening gifts, you may be able to save the wrap for next year.

Opt Outside

Nature hikes and conservation projects like the Christmas Bird Count are a great way to connect with nature and loved ones. 


Set out clearly marked bins for cans and bottles when entertaining. Be sure to flatten cardboard boxes so your recycling bins don’t overflow. Check your local guidelines for what can and cannot be recycled. 


Collect any food scraps that are being saved and paper napkins. If you don’t have a backyard composting system, check for community drop-off options in your area.

Giving Season

Donations to local charities are a great way to support thriving communities. Volunteer your time, give goods and services or contribute a monetary donation to organizations you value. Magnify your impact by contributing with friends and family members.