Green Holiday Baking

By Eva Lewandowski

For many years now, it’s been my tradition to start my holiday baking over the long Thanksgiving weekend.  Each year, I bake about 40-45 dozen cookies (yes you read that correctly!) and mail them off to my family throughout the country.  This is a very big undertaking for me, and I usually start planning it about two months in advance.  This planning helps me stay organized, and it also helps me have a more sustainable baking experience.

Here are some of the things I do to lower the environmental impact of my holiday baking:

  • Buy as many local and organic ingredients as possible.
  • Buy in bulk at my local co-op to eliminate packaging waste.  Flour, sugar, oatmeal, nuts, and dried fruit are all common bulk foods. 
  • If something isn’t available in bulk, I try to buy products that have recyclable or compostable packaging.
  • Plan out exactly what I will be baking in advance, so I know precisely how much of each ingredient I will need.  This helps prevent food waste.
  • If I do end up with excess ingredients, I store them properly to ensure they’ll last until I can use them again.  Check out Eureka Recycling’s food storage tips at to learn more.
  • Carefully time all baking, so I never have to leave a hot oven empty.
  • Use secondhand cookbooks, cookie cutters, utensils, etc.  A few years ago when I wanted to make spritz cookies, I was able to get a nice cookie press for a dollar at a thrift store.
  • Save cookie tins throughout the year and purchase more at thrift stores.  These are a cheap, lightweight way to package cookies for cross-country travel, and they can be used over and over again!

If you’re interested in vegan baking, you might want to read our articles here and here.

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