Sustainability| 5 min read

The Holiday Season to Start Giving a Sh*t

As we enter November, we can see the holiday season on the horizon and are eager to seize the opportunity it holds to do better and reconnect with the planet.

Ring in the season to start giving a sh*t

The last few years have thrown a lot at us and the planet, and it’s been overwhelming at times, to say the least. According to the IPCC Report, the past 5 years have been the hottest since 1850 and sea-level rise has nearly tripled compared to 1901-1971. While these stats can seem scary, we believe that if we work together, our small changes can add up to big impact on the earth.

It’s time to take action, and this year we’re ringing in the holidays a little bit differently. We’re celebrating the season to start giving a sh*t. About the world, about where our gifts are from, what our food is made out of, about the small changes we can all make, about each other, and so much more.

From elaborate meals to piles of gifts, it’s hard to ignore how much more we consume during the holidays and the impact this has on the Earth. By sharing tips, tricks, hacks and some of our favourite go-to ways to give a sh*t we want to inspire you to show up for the planet and live a little bit more environmental-ish this season and every season.


evergreen tree


Get sustainable with your shopping

This being said, we’re guessing your holiday shopping list is likely already underway as Black Friday approaches. After a year spent apart due to the pandemic, we’re heading into the holidays with a renewed appreciation for our nearest and dearest. After the distance, we naturally feel the urge to go above and beyond to make up for lost time.

But as you start your seasonal shopping, we encourage you to approach it from a more sustainable angle. This year we’re embracing the idea that less is more. With a little forethought and mindful questions, you can celebrate with less waste and give more meaningful presents that show everyone on your list you care, including the planet.

Before you load up your cart (digitally or in person), here are a few small things to consider.


How many gifts are you buying this holiday season?

While it may be tradition to buy a gift for every person on your list, consider how you can minimize your impact by giving fewer gifts this year. While we may be excited about the holiday season, statistics show that we’re actually not quite as enthusiastic about the gifts. According to a survey, Americans throw away a whopping $16 billion worth of unwanted gifts during Christmas in the US.

We know it can be hard to break from tradition, but we encourage you to lead the sustainable charge with your circle of family and friends heading into the holidays. This year, consider trying a more simplified gift exchange. Organize your group of gifters and have each person draw the name of one person they’ll buy a gift for. You can even keep who’s buying for who a secret to add an element of surprise. Giving fewer presents reduces your collective impact, and the gifts are often more thoughtful when you only have one person to shop for.

More sustainable ideas:

  • Ditch the wrapping paper and use natural decorations like pine corns and evergreen to decorate your gifts.
  • If you do wrap your gifts repurpose what you have around the house (newspaper, cloth napkins, jars), upcycle shipping boxes or reuse gift boxes from last year.
  • Offset your wrapping paper.
  • Ditch the gifts entirely and plan a celebratory night enjoying good company and festive drinks.


holiday party


What does the person you’re shopping for value?

Once you’ve narrowed down your gifting list, take some time to consider the people you’re buying for and what they value. Putting thought into practical gifts that won’t end up in the back of a closet or a landfill is a win for the person you’re buying for and the planet.

A great way to do this is to think about the daily routines and values of the person you’re buying for. Are there certain things they do every day that you could make more enjoyable with a mindful purchase? Are there certain causes or issues they care about that you could help support through your gift? Questions like these will help guide you towards a purchase that won’t go unused or unappreciated.

More sustainable ideas:

  • Consider homemade gifts (baked goods, natural cleansers) or planned quality time spent together.
  • Gift experiences like a cooking class or tickets to an event.
  • Explore digital gifts or donations.


Are the gifts you’re buying sustainable?

One of the most obvious ways to reduce your impact on the environment is to ensure you’re shopping with conscious, sustainable brands that care as much about the planet as you do.

Here at tentree, our Earth-first gift guides are curated with you and the planet in mind. Our products are made from the most sustainable materials; from manufacturing to shipping, we ensure our impact is as minimal as possible. Plus, we’ll plant ten trees on behalf of the person you’re shopping for with each gift you purchase. Not only does tree planting sequester carbon, it helps create other positive impacts for the earth like conserving water and biodiversity, supporting vulnerable communities around the world, and ensuring food security. And with our new digital Impact Wallet, the person you’re shopping for can actually see the impact their trees have in the world. Now that’s a gift that gives a sh*t.


tentree women's sustainable gift guide

Featured: The Women’s Cloud Shell Packable Puffer, the Patch Beanie, the Women’s Bamone Sweat Pant, and the Women’s French Terry Crop Hoodie.


More sustainable ideas:

  • Explore locally made gifts.
  • Buy quality products that are made to last.
  • Support companies that are giving back to their community and the planet.


What’s the carbon footprint of your gifts?

With the peak of the pandemic keeping us inside last year, many of us went online to grab our gifts. Over the 2020 holiday season, nearly half of Canadians (46%) purchased everything, or most things, online. This trend is only predicted to continue this year, with 84% already saying they plan to make the same number of, or even more, online purchases during the 2021 holiday season. While there’s no denying the convenience of having gifts delivered to your door, it’s important to consider the emissions that are required to make this happen. Gifts require cargo planes, trains, and delivery trucks to get to their destinations. That, in turn, pumps out carbon emissions and adds to air pollution.

This year, show you can show you give a sh*t by taking responsibility for your delivery emissions. With tentree’s Shipping Climate+ Package, you’re able to offset your shipping for 5-10 domestic packages. We do the math for you, and with each Shipping Climate+ Package you purchase, we plant seven trees on your behalf.

More sustainable ideas:

  • Opt for slower shipping methods — this usually results in a slightly smaller carbon footprint.
  • Consolidate your orders so everything is shipped together.
  • When shopping in person, skip the car and remember your reusable bag.


These are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling as the holidays approach — and we’re only getting started. Sustainability this holiday season will look different for everyone, but wherever you are on the sh*t giving spectrum, we’re here for you. Make sure you follow along for more tips and tricks in the weeks to come.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for gift inspiration, check out our latest Seasonal Staff Picks blog to see what styles our tentree’s loving.


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