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.