The Sustainable Shopper's Guide to a Budget-Friendly Holiday Season

Woman holding a lot of shopping bags


Are you a sustainable shopper on a budget looking for ways to have a more environmentally friendly holiday season? Look no further! Overshopping during the holidays not only hurts your wallet but also has a negative impact on the planet. But don’t worry, we have you covered. In this guide, we will provide you with some tips and tricks to become a more mindful shopper during the holiday season, all while sticking to your budget.

Setting a budget

Setting a budget is the first step towards mindful shopping. Start by deciding how much you can afford to spend overall, and then break this down into categories: gifts, decorations, food, and so on. Remember to account for small expenses, which can add up quickly.

Tips for sticking to your budget

Try to maintain a record of your expenditure and inspect it frequently.

Consider using cash or a prepaid card for holiday purchases to avoid overspending.

Remember, the thought behind the gift is more important than the price tag.

Mindful shopping

Mindful shopping is all about making thoughtful decisions. Instead of buying on impulse, take time to consider each purchase. Ask yourself: Is this item necessary? Is it within my budget? Could I find a more sustainable option?

Approaches to avoid impulse buying

Creat a list of who you are shopping for and stick to it.

Ignore the gift yourself attitude that goes with the holiday. You can send things you want to others rather than buy it yourself.

Sales are designed to make you spend more, not less. Sticking to a budgeted list with curve spending.

Gift ideas on a budget

Sustainable gifts don’t have to be expensive. Consider homemade gifts, or shop for second-hand items. Many local artisans also produce affordable, sustainable products.

DIY gift ideas for a personal touch

Personalized gifts can be great especially for people who have experienced a major life milestone like wedding, a baby or a new home. 

Websites like VistaPrint, Canva and even Walgreens can create a host of creative DIY gifts.

Think about the person you are gifting personal hobbies and gift a DIY item pertaining to that craft. Diamond painting for artists,  patterns and yarn for knitters and crocheters or even baked goods for foodies. DIY gifts are so personal and budget friendly.

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Sustainable wrapping options

Traditional gift wrapping paper is often not recyclable. Instead, consider using newspaper, old maps, or fabric scraps. Even a simple brown paper can be dressed up with a bit of twine and a sprig of holly. I love using scarves as wrapping paper because it acts like an added gift! Meccanized wool scarves work best. Also a reusable tote bag can also be used. Use one from your own stash instead of buying a new one. 

Here are some examples:

Sustainable wrapping image of using a scarf to wrap a box
Sustainable wrapping solution using tote bags to wrap gifts with a ribbon bow to close
Sustainable wrapping a box wrapped with paper - leaves and twine

Decorating sustainably

Instead of buying new decorations each year, consider using what you already have. Natural items like pine cones, branches, and berries can also make beautiful decorations. We use to do a different theme each year but then we noticed how wasteful it can be and decided to create new themes with the ornaments we have and add some new ones from our 3d printer.  You can also use old clothes. We saw this tutorial on adding old sweaters to existing Christmas’s balls to give them new life during the holiday season!

Other possible options include:

  • Using natural ornaments like pine cones and branches
  • Using old magazines and paper 
  • Using scrap fabric or other discarded materials
  • We love adding food to the tree as decor and allowing guest to eat them!


With a bit of planning and creativity, it’s possible to have a sustainable, budget-friendly holiday season. So remember these tips when you start your holiday shopping, and enjoy a season that is easier on your wallet and the planet.

Happy Holidays