It pays to be prepared for Christmas. Most people have a certain set of rituals for the holidays. This usually includes buying and wrapping gifts, decorating and buying a Christmas tree. These are time honored traditions, and they’re fun, but they can also be hard on the environment. Fortunately, there are many fun ways to celebrate a “Green Christmas” — one that is both environmentally friendly and joyful. Let’s look at some of the best ways to prepare for a green holiday season.
Send Emails Rather Than Paper Cards
While Christmas cards are a tradition, they also waste quite a bit of paper between the card and envelope. Emails are not only more environmentally friendly, they save you postage. You can get creative in your emails and include nice holiday themed graphics or links to e-cards.
Gift Wrap Using Recycled Paper
You can either buy recycled gift wrapping paper or repurpose paper you already have. You can make your gift wrapping even greener by also using recycled bows, ribbons and other decorative items. Another option is to wrap gifts in decorative gift bags that can be reused.
Use a Live Christmas Tree
It may come as a surprise to some, but live Christmas trees are better for the environment than plastic ones. Plastic consumes many resources and creates quite a bit of waste and pollution. The most sustainable type of tree is a live one in a pot. You can either keep the tree in its pot or replant it after the Christmas season.
Use LED Lights on the Tree
When lighting up your Christmas tree, use LED lights, which are far more energy efficient than other kinds. LED lights can last as long as 100,000 hours, which will get you through many holiday seasons! You should also remember to turn the lights off while everyone is asleep. Christmas tree lights, even LEDs, can actually hike up your monthly energy bill in December, so this might also be a good time of year to look into whether or not you can reduce your monthly energy costs by changing service providers (see this website for more details).
Give Creative Gifts
There are many alternatives to buying gifts at the mall or ordering them online. You could make gifts for people. If you are artistic you could create paintings, sculptures or collages for people. If you are handy, you could make items out of wood, metal or other materials. If you are good at sewing or needlepoint, clothing, rugs or blankets all make great gifts. Another option is to give experiences rather than physical objects. This might include yoga classes, massages, spa treatments or gift certificates for a nice restaurant.
Buy “Green” Gifts
There are now many companies that make eco-friendly gifts, whether clothing, jewelry, toys or home decor. You can also find creative and green gifts at antique shops. Most of all, try to avoid toys and gadgets that require batteries, which are an environmental hazard when discarded.
It’s easy to get into the habit of driving everywhere during the holiday season. Between shopping, holiday parties and visits, people often consume extra fuel during this time of year. Try to minimize this by doing more carpooling. If you have friends, co-workers or family members attending the same events, arrange to go together.
Buy in Bulk
It’s typical for people to stock up on food for holiday parties and meals. When you go to the store, buy as many items in bulk as you can. This includes not only food but also paper items such as paper towels and napkins. This will save you money and cut down on the packaging used.
These are just a few of the ways that you can have a “Green Christmas” this year. When you start thinking this way, you will probably come up with more ideas of your own. It’s often more fun to have environmentally friendly holidays, as you have to think creatively rather than simply do everything the same old way.
Thanks to Beth for a great guest post.
Staying above the water line!