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Enjoy the Season Without Compromising Your Health and Sustainability Goals

Tips for a nontoxic holiday graphic

The holiday season brings many things to look forward to—time with family and friends, intentionality, good food, and cozy memory-making moments. With so much else going on in this season, making healthier decisions can get set aside because, well, who has the time for that right now?!

The answer is, that’s the job of MADE SAFE! So, we put together our top tips for making healthier choices – especially during the holiday season.

Check out some of our favorite ways to make the holidays safe and sustainable below.


FESTIVE SCENTS FOR YOUR HOME

When colder weather rolls around it just feels right to fill your home with a cozy scent, but the unfortunate truth is that many candles and air fresheners do more harm than good. Check out our suggestions to make your home smell amazing without making an unhealthy compromise.

Light candles 
Shop MADE SAFE Certified candles to avoid nasty ingredients that pollute your indoor air. MADE SAFE prohibits ingredients often found in conventional candles such as paraffin wax, synthetic fragrance, and lead-containing wicks.

Diffuse essential oils
Shop MADE SAFE Certified essential oils. This a cost-effective way to make your space smell amazing. Essential oils are naturally-derived scents that will spare you the headache resulting from toxic synthetic air fresheners.

Use simmer pots & potpourri
Simmer pots and potpourris that use natural fruits and spices create a delicious aroma without the use of toxic chemicals. Try combining things you have on hand in your kitchen, like orange peels and berries or cinnamon sticks and vanilla extract. Or you could collect things from your backyard like pine needles and balsam sprigs. Inexpensive and so easy!


GIFT SHOPPING

Giving gifts to loved ones is a happy tradition during the holidays. When you choose MADE SAFE Certified products for gifts, our stringent Certification process ensures that you are investing in something that is protective of both the health of your loved one and the health of the environment. To make things super simple, we’ve put together a Holiday Gift Guide to highlight some of our favorite gifts this year, but you can also find all MADE SAFE Certified options on the MADE SAFE website or see MADE SAFE Certified goods available on Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly page. Regardless of what gifts you purchase this year, keep the below tips in mind to help you shop better.

Children’s toys 
Where does one begin? When you can, opt for things made from natural materials (linen, cotton, wool, natural wood, rubber etc). Avoid plastics (most are made from petroleum and many contain BPA and other bisphenols), PVC (contains phthalates), painted wooden toys made outside of the U.S. and Europe (toys manufactured in countries with less restrictive policies may contain lead and other heavy metals, so buyer beware of where your merchandise comes from).

Apparel
Check out our Guide to Sustainable Fashion for a deep dive on how to locate better apparel. Steer clear of fast-fashion (which usually contains nonbiodegradable, nonrecyclable fibers) and watch out for claims like “stain-resistant” or “water-resistant” (indicators that the clothes may have been treated with PFAS). See the Green Science Policy Institute’s list of PFAS-Free Products to help you get started.

Personal care products
Shop MADE SAFE Certified personal care products and you’ll avoid more than 6,500 substances prohibited on our Banned List. Have questions about a specific type of product? Check out our Product Profiles and learn common ingredients to avoid.


IT’S NOT JUST THE GIFT BUT THE GIFT WRAPPING!

You have the perfect gift all worked out, but need to wrap it. Try not to commit to the landfill something that will last longer than the gift you’re giving! Many wrapping papers are made from or can contain plastic fibers. Yep.  So, what should you use? We can help you keep it lighter on the planet, your budget and your health with the ideas below.

Fabric 
Whether you use pre-loved pieces of fabric or new pieces you intend to reuse, fabric is a great choice and can be used for many years to come.

Boxes 
Nice gift boxes are a great option for reusable gift wrap. They are available at many retailers, look lovely under the tree, and can be saved and reused year after year.

Bags 
You can save easily and reuse gift bags—this is a great alternative to plastic wrapping paper which can typically only be used once. To fill the space around the gift, choose shredded crinkle-cut paper confetti which can also be used multiple times over. Another great choice is to purchase cloth Santa-style bags which are fun, extremely durable, and incredibly easy to use over and over again.

Wrapping paper 
Look for wrapping papers that are labeled as recyclable and biodegradable. Basic brown paper is a great option and can be spiced up with bows, ribbons, and greenery. (We save our brown paper all year long just to haul it out for wrap jobs and then we color it with festive designs for a handmade touch.)

Bows and ribbons 
Use biodegradable ribbon such as jute twine or sisal twine, or save your ribbons and reuse them year after year.


CHRISTMAS TREES

There’s nothing more inviting than seeing a beautifully lit tree through a window on these short winter days. Regardless of whether you opt for a real tree or an artificial tree, here are a couple things to keep in mind to make healthier choices.

Real trees 
Avoid using any flame retardant applications as this class of chemicals has been associated with many negative health impacts. You can minimize your fire risk using effective measures such as remembering to water your tree sufficiently, keeping flames away from the tree, and unplugging the lights when you are away from the tree for extended periods of time (e.g., when sleeping at night or when leaving the home for longer periods of time).

Artificial trees 
If you prefer an artificial tree, try to steer clear of trees made with (PVC) due to its negative health impacts. Polypropylene and other plastic polymers are alternatives, but these plastics carry their own health concerns and will also likely off-gas. You can combat this by using an air purifier and opening your windows regularly (a good practice regardless of whether you have an artificial tree in the home or not).


While this certainly is not a comprehensive list of all the decisions and circumstances everyone will encounter this time of year, we do hope this list of tips will help guide you through this wonderful time of year with a little less stress and fuss!

We are wishing everyone a great rest of 2021, and eagerly await what 2022 has in store.

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