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Green Christmas tips to keep the season eco-friendly

Christmas is coming and it can be overwhelming and sometimes, staying environmentally friendly can be hard to do.

Shopping, decorating, cooking, parties and traveling can all take a toll on you and your wallet. Try some of these easy and fun green tips that will help you stay green this Christmas season.

Green Holiday Gift Ideas – Shop local. Not only are you supporting your community, your money is supporting the local economy. Plus you know of the little unique stores where to find that perfect gift that is one of a kind and one person doesn’t end up with two of the same gift.

Re-use wrapping paper. There is nothing wrong with keeping the pretty paper for use again next year. Chances are, if you thought the paper looked nice, someone else will too. If you still think that’s too taboo, then use a fabric gift wrap.  Use newspaper, junk mailers or leftover paper. Decorate it and have fun with it!

Cut up old greeting cards to use as gift tags or place cards, or tape the front of old cards to inexpensive, plain-color gift bags.

Charity gifts. If there is a hard to buy for person on your list who is also a green enthusiast, try making a monetary donation in their name to a charity.

One gift rule. If you’re concerned about the “useless junk” you’re going to have cluttering up the house come June, have your family stick to the one gift rule. Draw names and each person gets one thoughtful gift. No one goes without and the giftee knows there was genuine time and effort spent picking out their gift.

Purge your house of unwanted items and take them to a consignment store or donate them. Re-gifting is no longer a faux pas. Why sit on something that you know you will never use again? As it’s in good shape, it’s better off going to someone who will enjoy it.

Sometimes making dinner, spending some one-on-one time (theater tickets, coffee and dessert, movie and popcorn), making a photo album or other personalized gift (a nature wreath, a bouquet of flowers, candle holders, etc) can mean much more than a store-bought gift.

 

Natural Holiday Decor & Scents – Pine cones, tree trimmings, baked goods and seasonal produce (cranberries, nuts, gourds, etc.) all give the “look” of the holidays and you don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of holiday decorations. Simmer cloves and ginger instead of burning candles. Rosemary, thyme, and sage are all evergreen, fragrant and can be used to season recipes all year long. You can also try basil, chamomile, lavender and mint. S

 

Replace your old Christmas lights with Light Emitting Diode (LED) Christmas lights. They are more durable, virtually unbreakable, and since the bulbs have no filament, they don’t burn out and stay cool to the touch.

 

String popcorn with cranberries for eco friendly Christmas decorations and homemade edible gifts, using dark chocolate, fresh and dry fruits are wonderful Christmas crafts and decorating ideas that you can share with your kids.

Offer to trade last year’s decor with someone else for the season. Host a party and have people bring their decor items for swap and trade. You never know what you might get! You can change up your theme year to year without spending a dime!

 

Choose handmade and homemade ornament, whether made by yourself or a local artisan. Create your own ornaments or help your kids cut and hang snowflakes from scrap paper saved throughout the year. Also, choose durable and meaningful ornaments. Wood, metal, or cloth will all last longer than plastic or thin glass. And an ornament that symbolizes an important event from the year will mean it is kept and treasured for a lifetime.

Energy-efficient LED Lighting. If your strands of lights are older than 10 years it will be more efficient to replace them with newer, LED bulbs. They can also save you up to 90 per cent or more on power costs and will last longer than traditional bulbs.

Utilize Timers. All your Christmas lights should be on timers, from the strands adorning your trees to the lights outside. Don’t count on remembering to turn them off after a long day and plug the lights into a timer that remembers for you.

 

Go Green Christmas Tree – Fake trees may save you some cash but they are made of non-eco-friendly materials. Cutting a tree and throwing it away after Christmas is also bad for the environment. Don’t fret you do have options! Adopt a real tree that grows outside. You can decorate a live Christmas tree with cheap ornaments and LED lights then visit it with your friends and family.

Green Christmas Party

Cook large batches of food that can be used in a number of items throughout the week. Also, make large batches of sauces and entrees like lasagna that can be frozen and re-heated in a pinch.

Serve less meat. Chicken, pork, and, especially, beef, take a heavier toll on the environment than veggies. Cows, in particular, produce copious amounts of methane, which is even worse for global warming than carbon dioxide. So instead of serving the turkey, the ham and the pot roast side-by-side, consider replacing some of the meat on your menu with tofu or veggies.

Natural Centerpiece. Create your centerpiece from natural elements, such as pine wreaths, an arrangement of Poinsettias and beeswax candles.

Invest in holiday dishes, glassware and cloth napkins that you use every year. They will be a great part of your tradition and can be gifted to your children as well.

Buy local, organic produce for your salads, snacks and goodies.

Have a well-labeled recycle bin placed in a convenient location for beer bottles, soda cans, etc.

Make wiser drinking choices like juices with organic liquor, organic wines and beers. But most of all, drink responsibly and never let your guests drink and drive.

 

Avoid Individual Beverages. Make homemade eggnog, hot chocolate or iced tea in large quantities and prepare pitchers of ice water in advance to set on each table to reduce waste from water and soda bottles or cans.

Compost. Any food scraps that can’t be used for leftovers (or broths) can be composted or given to animals to reduce any potential waste.

 

Have a Merry Eco-friendly Christmas!

 

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