December brings us decorations, presents, and so much food. It is a time of extravagance. If you would like to consider making the Christmas spirit include being kind to our planet, let’s discuss ways to enjoy the season without extreme consumption and waste. Here are my 4 top tips for a more eco-friendly holiday.
I. Get A Real Christmas Tree
Now many of you may think that using a real tree is wasteful, but that isn’t the case. Trees clean the air, protect water and provide wildlife habitats. There are over 15,000 mostly family owned tree farms in the USA. Growing and harvesting trees provides over 100,000 jobs. Buy a locally grown live tree and you are helping provide jobs and get the instant benefit of a wonderful fragrance in your home.
I’ve written for the last 3 years about a little tiny live tree I bought 4 years ago. I had assumed it would die but each year I repot and decorate it. In a few years I will try to find someone who wants to give it a home as there is no room in my tiny yard. Right now he’s happy in a pot on the edge of my porch and I will decorate him again for Christmas. (Yes it’s a he; don’t ask me how I know.) Look for a post soon on my crafted tree decor from recycled plastic.
Plastic trees are nearly all made overseas which means a huge carbon foot print in the shipping to the USA and then around the country. Most also contain things that can cause health issues. From PVC in fake Christmas trees to lead in your lights, consider the chemicals you are bringing into your home. See Could Your Artificial Christmas Tree Be Hazardous? for more information.
II. Use LED Lights to Decorate
Light Emitting Diode or LED lights consume significantly less energy than traditional lights. Being more energy-efficient, LED lights are better for the environment and will also save you money on your electric bill. For your outside decorating, please consider using a few strands less and try solar-powered lights when buying new ones.
III. Make Good Choices in Your Holiday Gifts
Choices in gift-buying should include buying local, choosing items made from recycled materials, making your own gifts, and giving a gift that is not an object. I personally like Christmas bazaars which are packed with homemade items for fun and small presents. Baking treats has been a mainstay of my Christmas gifts for decades. When buying online opt for frustration-free packaging when possible — this often means they’ll leave out any extra boxes, plastic wrap, or twist ties that you’d just throw away. Try to do bundle shipping when you can to decrease the amount of fuel spent in shipping.
For some folks who seem to have everything a donation to a charity, a gift of an experience, or planting trees in their names are all ways to give. Gifts of experiences are another favorite of mine. I’ve received and given gifts of massages. For many years, I have given my sister enough concert tickets for her family to go to a local Irish performance in February.
Consider a white elephant exchange at work or even in your family. I once went to a large employee Christmas party and every attendee had to bring an unwrapped item from their home. These used items were placed in the center and everyone sat in a circle around waiting for our turn to choose. The organizer made it a game and gave everyone a number. When your number came up, you could choose an item, even one already chosen by someone else. Some gifts went around the circle because of their popularity. It was fun too!
IV. Use Eco Friendly Wrapping Paper
When I was growing up, whenever gifts were exchanged, my mother saved the wrapping paper. My mother had lived through the Depression of the 1930’s and knew many money-saving tips. She carefully folded the paper and put it away to use again. Likewise, ribbons and bows can be used again. Many of us today use gift bags which are perfect to reuse another day.
On Christmas morning, if your kids tear into their gifts, have a paper bag to fill with paper gift wrap for recycling. When purchasing gift wrap, please consider that not all gift wrap can be easily recycled. Recycling is doubly important at Christmas as high quantities of disposable items are purchased.
Personally I like using brown Kraft paper and have even used brown bags from the supermarket for gift wrap. It can have a sophisticated presentation and be frugal and green too.
Thanks for the visit. Get exclusive free printables & all the news straight to your mailbox!
Please see my Link Parties page for the parties where this post was shared.