Have a Very Greenie Christmas

Going Green with Noah

By Melanie Melugin

As an eco-friendly individual, have you ever considered how to green out your Christmas celebrations?

Here are some easy and quick tips to make your Christmas season one about conservation, sustainability and frugality!

1) Buy Less.

  • For everything that you buy, consider the environmental impact that it has.  Not only do you have to consider the packaging (hopefully recyclable), but the carbon footprint that is associated with the shipping of the product from the location of manufacturing to your home.
  • Also consider a more personal gift, rather than one store-bought, such as a picture, a found item, a family heirloom, an experience, such as a ticket to a theater performance or an amusement park.

2) Buy for Less People

  • I know in my family, as we have grown older, it seems as the list for Christmas lists has grown longer and longer.  We have mutually decided to do a “Chinese Christmas” amongst the adults and then individual gifts for the children.  Saves a ton of money as well.

3) Buy Smart. Buy Green!

Be creative in your gift purchasing.

  • For instance, buy local.  There are always great arts and craft shows this time of year – find those and help not only your local economy, but small business owners in your area as well!  Such a gift is typically a little more thought out and unique as well.

Buy from recycled or renewable sources.

Many of these items can also be found at local arts festivals, but can also be found online.  Here are some unique and great ideas:

  • Green Toys – This company prides itself on producing safe and eco-friendly childrens toys made out of recycled materials, such as plastic bottles.  The great thing is, is that when the child doesn’t want it anymore, it can turn around and be recycled again!
  • A local favorite of mine are the upcycled tire pony swings from Giddy-Up Swings.
  • Vintage Books – Visit a local antique bookstore and continue the cycle of upcycling books.

4) Christmas Lights

  • Reduce the amount of Christmas lights on your outdoor Christmas display
  • Use LED lights instead of conventional string lights
  • Set the lights on a timer to conserve electricity when the lights are not in use

5) Christmas Trees

  • Did you know that over 50 million Christmas trees are purchased each year and of these, over 30 million end up in our landfills?
  • Buy artificial
  • If you want a real tree, be sure that you are buying a tree that comes from a sustainable tree farm, rather than from the forests – Once you are done with the tree – chip the wood and use it in flower beds.
  • OR buy a full tree that can be planted and enjoyed year round!

6) Christmas Wrapping Paper

  • An interesting statistic – Half of the paper that Americans use each year is from Holiday Wrapping Paper!
  • Reuse – Carefully open the paper and fold when done to reuse and upcycle in future years
  • Only use paper that you are sure that you can recycle.  Aluminum and metal wrapping papers are very difficult to recycle and will litter our landfills.
  • Conserve.  Use only as much paper and tape as you need. Less is more in this instance!
  • Upcycle – Use unique materials to wrap, such as fabric or neat containers.

7) Christmas Cards

  • We all love giving and receiving Christmas cards.  Try one of these eco-friendly approaches
    • Buy Christmas cards made of recycled materials
    • Send e-Cards
    • Create online photo albums or create a photo movie (such as iMovie) and send instead
  • Recycle your cards when the holiday season is done

8) The Christmas Party

  • Do not use paper plates!  Many times these cannot be recycled once littered with food contaminants.  Therefore, pull out your Christmas dishes and wash them when done.
  • Send out evites, rather than physical invitations.  Not only does this save postage, but saves paper and the carbon footprint it takes in shipping.
  • Cut up old Christmas cards and use them as place cards or nameplates for food dishes
  • Instead of conventional candles, use soy candles or LED candles
  • Encourage your guests to carpool.

Resources

www.eartheasy.com

www.mahalo.com

Comments

  1. 1

    Kids can Learn to Reduce Reuse Recycle in a Fun Way !
    Ever wonder what to do with the “stuff” that is left-over when you finish an craft project. Stuff like yarn, felt, fabric scraps, snippets of scrap booking paper, or old buttons collecting dust in a tin,o verlooked Gift Wraps, blueprints, sheet music, maps, wallpaper scraps, bubble wrap), decorative napkins and placemats, graph paper (you can draw patterns on it), rice paper, children’s drawings, and fabric scraps. – those things just a bit too small to use. Well, here’s an idea! Why not donate them to a school. Teachers, like myself, are always looking for items to incorporate into their lessons. Varying the materials that are used to teach will provide a full sensory experience and make learning more hands-on and fun. I have often wondered what happens to all those beautiful ribbons and bows that are left after the baby show or wedding is over. What happens to all the beautiful tissue paper and wrapping paper our guest carefully selected for that special gift. Even the greeting cards that accompanied the gift can be recycled. These are all items that can be recycled, reused and even “up cycled” to create lasting art.I currently teach at a Fine Arts public elementary school where we believe that, if it is “safe” and not nailed down our students can turn it into art. Most of the students at my school live in low-income households and can not always afford to purchase school supplies. Hence, it is so important for our teachers, who often reach into their own pockets, to think creatively when taking on variousprojects.
    I try to recycle on a daily basis and teach my students about the importance and merits of recycling. Any items I have left-over from a completed projects are donated to my school. It’s my way of doing something for our environment – it reduces the cost for the teacher and the kids have fun.
    If you are interested in donating unused craft items, that can be used by primary teachers,
    please contact me at: Bagitup4me@gmail.comFinally, here is a quote I hope inspires you:
    “Landfills don’t need school supplies, books and computers – teachers do!.”

  2. 2

    Good tips for everyone! I’ve been making gifts for people, or gifting gently-read books and such. One everyday tip for the LED light strings is to use them throughout the year as night lighting. They will provide enough light to make your way through a room, and they don’t destroy your night vision (or provide enough light to wake you up too much). Hope everyone has a great Christmas!

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