Image: Pixabay

The planet needs our help.

According to the United Nations, less than 3 percent of the Earths water is drinkable, one in nine people in the world today are undernourished and some 103 million youth worldwide lack basic literacy skills.

But by doing our part and starting at home, we can all make a difference. From deep economic chasms and climate volatility to increased needs in the fields of health, food systems and more, making positive changes to help create a better world is more important than ever.

During the busy holiday season, it can be all too easy to get caught up in the hustle and forget what’s really important.

We can all do our part to help transform the world. By selecting products from sustainably minded companies and seeking out charitable initiatives to incorporate into the holiday season, we can work together to help end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

So this year, consider others in your holiday plans by seeking out gifts, decor inspiration and more that help to make the world a better place.

Here are five ideas for how you can have a sustainable holiday a little bit of conscious capitalism goes a long way.

Image: pixabay

Cook your way to a better world

Whether youre flexing your baking muscles for the first time or crafting a holiday meal worth envying, opt for ingredients that help give back. Good Spread natural peanut butter donates food to malnourished children for every packet or jar of product they sell, while socially conscious company Krakakoa sells Fair Trade chocolate sourced from small farmers and grown using sustainable farming practices. When shopping for groceries, search out other like-minded food companies, like Newmans Own Organics, which sources ingredients from organic farms, supports sustainable farming programs and to date has donated more than $475 million to thousands of charities around the world. There’s also Siam Organic, a social enterprise from Thailand which sources its organic rice entirely from small-scale farmers. Whats more, their superfood Jasberry rice is sustainably farmed and good for your health: it contains ten times more antioxidants than blueberries.

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Seek out natural decor

Some plastics can take on average 450 years to biodegrade, with some requiring upwards of 1,000 years to break down completely. In the process, this widely used material clogs up waterways, harms wildlife and pollutes the planet. This year, try to eliminate plastic decor from your holiday altogether or opt for a real Christmas tree that is surprisingly better for the environment that an artificial one Maybe you didnt realize it, but your backyard and local market can provide all the holiday decor you need. Opt for natural elements that you can gather from your garden, like flowers and tree cuttings. While at the store, look at the produce section in a new way, making things like citrus, pomegranates and popcorn part of your holiday decor arsenal. Try arranging them in a glass bowl as a centerpiece or surrounding a white candle. Feeling inspired? Check out these effortlessly ethical hacks and DIY projects for a greener and merrier Christmas.

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Select gifts that give back

When shopping for friends and family, choose presents that help promote good tidings. Places like shoe company Toms, apparel company Twice as Warm and soap company Hand in Hand all follow the one for one model: for every purchase you make, they donate one of their products to communities in need. There are tons of great buy-one-give-one gift options for your gadget-loving friends. Looking to give a gift that will really make you feel good? Yellow Leaf Hammocks works directly with families in Thailand to help create jobs and eliminate poverty. When checking off your list, try to look for other companies that pay it forward. Whether its the one-for-one model or a percentage of proceeds thats sent to charity, you can feel good about your holiday shopping when you select products that help others.

Image: PaperForward

Choose wrapping paper with a conscience

Founded in 2014 following a successful Kickstarter campaign, PaperForward creates earth-conscious, thoughtful wrapping paper made from recycled paper and vegetable-based ink and donates part of their proceeds to educational charities like Jumpstart and The Ocean Institute. Available online, giftwrap options range from the non-denominational Whale of a Blizzard to designs that speak to Christmas and Hannukah, like Dread Pirate Gingerbread and Hanukktopus.

Image: Pixabay

Raise your glass to a sustainable holiday

Each bottle of wine purchased from One Hope comes with a nice kickback: a charitable donation that helps someone in need. For example, when you buy a bottle of their 2013 Napa Valley Reserve Red Blend, youre also helping to end homelessness by funding job-preparation services. A bottle of their 2015 Sonoma Reserve Rose helps with ovarian cancer prevention. One Hope works with a number of charities and non-profits, covering everything from global healthcare and anti-poverty initiatives to programs that help provide clean water and work to end child hunger. Further proof that a glass of wine is good for the heart.

For more ideas to make your Christmas really count, check out Asia For Goods gift guides and hacks for a merrier, more sustainable way to celebrate the festive season.

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