Our 2023 Sustainable Holiday Guide


Brown paper packages scattered on white background with text reading "Helen + Gertrude's Sustainability Guide"

Happy holidays from the Helen + Gertrude Sustainability Committee! We’re excited to present our annual Sustainable Holiday Guide, filled with our top tips for expanding our green efforts as a community this season. It’s not about being perfect, but about taking small steps together to be a little kinder to our planet. Read on for eco-friendly home decor ideas, shopping practices, delicious vegan recipes, and more!

An evergreen wreath with vinatge bell and ribbon and text reading "Going More Green"

Going More Green Starts at Home!

  • Spend an evening making your own simple tree decorations with materials you already have, or bring some life back to your existing ones instead of buying new!
  • Consider investing in LED holiday lights instead of fluorescent ones. LED lights use up to 75% less energy and can last up to 10 times longer than traditional lights—a win for the environment AND your wallet.
  • Did you know traditional wrapping paper is not recyclable? Wrap gifts with recycled newspaper or paper grocery bags (Trader Joe’s has especially festive ones!), consider compostable eco wrapping paper, or try your hand at the Japanese art of gift wrapping, furoshiki.
  • The Great Tree Debate: is real or fake better for the environment? Most sources say real trees are the way to go, as long as you recycle it properly after. If fake works better for your lifestyle, consider buying one secondhand!

A tray of star cookies and text reading "Vegan Treats Made With Love"

The Best Treats Are Made With Love—For the Environment, That Is 😉

A white package with a red bow and sprig of evergreen with text reading "Eco-Friendly Shopping"

Let’s Talk (Eco-Friendly) Shopping

  • A classic for a reason: this is your reminder to keep your reusable bags in your car to use for any spontaneous, in-person shopping!
  • If you’re more of an online shopper, plan early (pretty much, now) to avoid having to use rush shipping that will add to your carbon footprint 👣
  • Consider gifting experiences or non-tangible items to your loved ones for a unique and lower-waste present.
  • Purchase gifts from sustainable companies. Here are some we have added to our ever-growing list!

Make-it-yourself, customizable “Clean Candles”

Organic cotton clothing, sustainably and ethically made

Complete Unity Yoga
Eco-friendly yoga mats and accessories

Millions of used (and new) books

For Days
Organic, Zero-Waste Clothing Basics

In 2 Green
Blankets, Throws, Apparel

Hand with red nail polish holding a white package with red ribbon and a natural brown bow on a white background with text reading "Your Impact"

Small Businesses, Big Impact

One of the best things you can do to support your community AND the planet is to purchase from small businesses instead of global corporations. Below are some of our team’s local favorites!

One World Goods
Rochester's only fair trade gift shop

Interior landscaping, plant care and cafe in Boulder, CO

Staple Vintage
Size and gender-inclusive vintage shop in Rochester, NY

Impact Earth
Sustainable household products in Rochester, NY

Contemporary ceramics, curious homegoods & glorified Stuff in Thomas, WV

Cleo + Kin
Focused on sourcing sustainable, independent brands and women run businesses

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