Image by Evan / Creative Commons
The holidays are here and I’d say, if you were able to make it through Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you are doing well. The question now becomes how to get through the rest of the holiday season without significantly increasing your environmental footprint, and putting a massive dent in all the green work you have done over the past year. Thankfully, going green over the holidays is all about the planning. If you plan well and plan ahead, your holidays can be just as green as the rest of your year.
Please take a look at the following tips and see how you can put a little more green in your holiday season:
1 – For those of you who haven’t finished all your holiday shopping (like me), many of the gifts you want to get can be found online and directly sent to their intended destinations. If you want to go into a store, then plan out your trip so you can save time, money and gas.
2 – Over the holidays, most people go out and buy a tree to put in their home. While Christmas trees do symbolize the holiday season, how about adding a new tradition of planting a tree. You can do this by either buying or renting a live tree to use during the holidays, or by donating to have more trees planted. (Of course, if you do buy a regular tree, please remember to recycle it. Many cities offer a pick-up/recycling service after the holidays.)
3 – Opt for DIY gift wrap. By using newspaper, your children’s drawings, old jeans or clothes, and more, you can come up with some pretty creative wrapping ideas that your gift recipients will be sure to enjoy.
4 – When shopping for food items, stick with local or organic foods. Farmers’ Markets and local farms are great places to pick up some of the food items you need without the chemicals and pesticides you don’t.
5 – If you are planning on mailing out Christmas cards, how about trying something new this year. Get recycled, plantable Christmas cards. It is a win-win all around.
6 – Did you know that you can turn your old Christmas cards into really cool ornaments for your tree? Well, you can. You can also turn them into gift tags, garland, bags and more. Check out these recycled Christmas card crafts.
7 – Not everyone needs or wants to receive a gift just for the sake of receiving one. There are alternatives to traditional holiday gifts. One of my favorites is The Gentle Barn where you can donate or “adopt” an animal. You can also check out TreeHugger’s Green Gift Guide with gift ideas for almost anyone.
8 – Over the holidays we tend to have more parties, get-togethers and family visiting our homes. This means lots of cleaning, many loads of dishes, and utility bills that are traditionally a lot larger than we would like them to be. A few tips that can help lower costs, energy expenses and water usage are a) use natural, home-made cleaners like this orange peel vinegar cleaner, b) wait until your dishwasher and washing machine are full before you run them, also remember to run them off peak hours, c) unplug all appliances not in use, d) turn off all lights you don’t need on, and e) keep in mind that body heat will go a long way, so turn down that thermostat.
9 – Keep holiday waste to a minimum. In addition to recycling over the holidays, one of the simplest green tips around is to use less. Reduce what you buy, reuse what you can and recycle the rest. It is as simple as that.
10 – Last but not least, get some fresh air. Go outside. Go for a walk. Enjoy the beauty of nature. Breathe. Holidays can be stressful, so why not take a break now and again. Clear your mind and soak in the beauty of the world around you.
There are many green holiday tips I could mention, but the above were just some of the ones I thought you wouldn’t want to miss. They are simple, they do not take a lot of effort, and they are something you can do to green up your entire holiday season. No matter what holiday you celebrate, add a little green to your celebrations.