How To Deal With Holiday Environmental Guilt

Dec 14, 2022

I don’t know about you but I always end up feeling very conflicted during the holiday shopping season.

Part of me doesn’t want to buy any gifts–and maybe you don’t. Which is way cool. Or you make all yours. Or buy everything from local craftspeople making adorable and useful handmade goods. Yay!

That’s not me.

I buy fewer gifts each year, and sure I do my homework and buy as sustainably as possible and from small businesses when possible but inevitably, I get overwhelmed and I pick up at least a few things that don’t match my values.

Gift giving is not my love language. 🤣

But even if it was, or is for you, shopping as an environmentally aware person is hard. And it’s easy to get down on ourselves for not making every gift and every wrapping environmentally neutral.

It’s a fantastic goal and again, if you are meeting it, I’m so happy.

And if you’re like me, and you’re not, I want you to give yourself a break.

Because judging yourself for your shopping habits puts all the blame on you and it makes it more difficult to make better choices in the future.

We do not shop in a vacuum. We are not the ones who made it so easy to buy from Amazon. We are not the ones who made toys out of petroleum products. We are not the ones who entomb products in enough hard plastic you need the jaws of life to free the thing.

And let’s remember shopping for gifts is a job we assume on top of all our other jobs, which means we often shop tired.

Not to mention our worries about finding the right gift, money worries, and when you throw in memories of past gifts gone wrong (remind me to tell you about the small appliance Christmas), it’s no wonder we sometimes freak and buy the cheap shirt from H&M or order the last minute present from Amazon.

Be gentle with yourself.

Remind yourself you are thinking about this stuff, you are trying, and that matters.


I found Jessica Kleczka on Instagram and I’m enjoying her climate good news spots.

The Washington Post launched extended climate coverage. I liked this story about how to shop for new clothes.

Important, Not Important and Inside the Movement are two newsletters with clear suggestions for taking action.


I’m itching to learn new ways to use writing to help the climate movement but I’ve been getting in my way. So many fears: not smart enough, not young enough, not enough time. Then I came upon Julie Artz’s freebie filled with groovy writing mindset exercises. My favorite is The Box of Disappointment because I’ve been so disappointed writing fiction in the past (I’m thinking about writing climate fiction). Check out this lovely freebie from a wonderful fiction writing coach.

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