Are you ready to give the gift of a green Christmas this year? In an effort to lead more sustainable lives, many people are beginning to consider the environmental impact the holiday season has on our planet. After all, once all those wrappings and ribbons are torn away, do they end up in a landfill?
While it may seem challenging to incorporate conservation into your festivities, small changes can make a big difference. Here are a few ways you can help our habitat this holiday season:
- Deck the Halls: Consider traditional holiday decorations such as seasonal fruits, indoor plants and pinecones to spruce up your space. Making ornaments and pomanders is a fun way to bring your family together and share with your loved ones.
- Step into the (LED) Light: Choosing LED light for your decorations is an easy way to cut down on energy use. LEDs are 90 percent more efficient, last longer and stay cooler, reducing the risk of fires.
- Spread Virtual Cheer: To cut back on Christmas clutter, try using online photo sharing services and e-cards. Many of these services are free, allowing you to not only be green, but also save green. If you aren’t ready to kiss your cards goodbye, opt for those printed on recycled paper.
- Treat Yourself to a Tree: You don’t have to give up your tree to be green, but it’s worth considering the impact of chopping down real evergreens every year. In the spirit of sustainability, consider creating a new tradition with your family by buying a potted tree that can then be planted outdoors and enjoyed for many years to come.
- The Bad Wrap: Instead of wasting miles of store-bought wrapping paper, consider ways to reduce and reuse paper and fabric from around the house. Old maps, magazine wrappers and even old quilts tied up with ribbon make attractive wrapping that will help you save time and money.
- Give Green: Offer a less materialistic version of celebration to friends and family by making gifts (such as cookies, soaps and candies), giving vintage items or donating to a good cause in their name. Or, if you’re ready to give the gift of togetherness, consider donating time as a group to an organization like Habitat for Humanity.
- Be the Change: Don’t pressure friends and family with your eco-agenda. Christmas is packed with tradition that many do not wish to surrender. Instead, lead by example by implementing green techniques yourself and let others follow in your footsteps.
Writer Burton Hillis once said, “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” Indeed, holidays are a time of celebration and togetherness, but can also be a time of transformation. Make this the year you move yourself forward with lasting traditions of sharing and sustainability, and you may be surprised by the impact you make.