Last Minute Tips for a Green Holiday

Fresh snow and log house

Image by Wonderlane (via Flickr)

I don’t know about you, but I’m currently trying to wrap up the majority of my work so that I can do some last minute Christmas shopping, finish (or should I say start) wrapping presents and work on some hand-made gifts the kids and I are making.  But before I head out for the holiday weekend, I wanted to share some last minute tips to help you have a green holiday.

1) Watch your thermostat.  If you are planning on having guests for the holidays, please remember not to turn your thermostat too high.  The guests you have over will help generate heat on their own, so there is no need to roast them out of the house.

2) Try and spend some time outside over the holidays.  No matter where you live, this time of the year is beautiful. If you can get outdoors, do so. I don’t mean try and weather through a snow storm or anything, but try and enjoy nature a little.  Especially if you have kids, you’ll want to ensure they enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer this time of year.  Besides, you may find it will brighten your holiday mood!

3) As most people know, opening presents can generate a lot of trash.  One way to cut down is to “wrap” presents in re-usable bags.  My mother-in-law is a pro at this.  She has gift bags for all occasions and after we’ve opened our Christmas presents, she collects all the bags and stores them away to re-use next time.  Even when she wraps gifts with wrapping paper, she re-uses the bows and keeps any boxes that were used.  Very smart.

4) If you are hosting a party try not to let your left-overs go to waste.  Many times people make more food than their guests could ever eat.  Whether it’s because they aren’t sure what people will want to eat or they want to have a good variety, either way you probably don’t need to make quite as much as you think.  But if you do make extra, please save it for later or give it to your guests when they go home.

5) If you are doing any traveling over the holidays, first and foremost be safe.  If you are driving (or flying even) allow extra time for bad weather or traffic.  If you drive, ensure you have water, blankets, food in the car in case of emergency.  Another key is to ensure your tires are properly inflated/rotated, your oil is changed and you are filled up with the proper gasoline (a good fuel additive can help too).  These steps will help ensure your car is running properly and contributing less to harmful emissions.

6) The holidays are traditionally full of a variety of scents and smells.  Don’t get overwhelmed with the need to make the holidays “smell like the holidays”.  Too many scents can pollute the air and make people uncomfortable.  Be moderate in your use of holidays scents and candles.  You want a pleasant, fresh smell that everyone can enjoy.  Sometimes a fresh Christmas tree, some warm cookies or some fresh air are all that it takes.

7) If you haven’t made any donations yet, but want to make a green donation to help others in need….here are a few last minute gifts truly worth giving.

Last but not least…have a safe, happy and green holiday!  No matter where you are celebrating, remember to enjoy your time with family and friends.  All my best wishes to you and yours during this holiday season!


  • Stephanie

    Great ideas as always!! Love the green gift tips!! I’m going to “shop” at Heifer International for my MIL this year!

  • David of

    I read the leftovers advice loud and clear. We are usually Leftovers Central, and there is a tendancy to forget food on the counter while making merry. But we usually save most of it and eat plenty of leftovers for days to come.

  • Tara

    Thanks Steph!

    Thanks David – I know, my family usually does the same. But we were good this year, there wasn’t a lot (if anything) left after our holiday meals.

    Happy New Year to you both 🙂

  • mallory

    I’ve got a great + super simple tip. The next time you’re purchasing a gift card– go for the electronic (and paperless) option, an eGift card. Each year, 75 millions lbs of PVC is dumped into landfills from plastic gift card waste (Plenty Magazine). That’s an astronomical amount of waste for something that can easily and conveniently be sent virtually. PVC is notoriously difficult to recycle and cannot be tossed into the recycling bin along side your other household items. You must send those pesky plastic cards to a PVC recycling plant, the only one I know of is EarthWorks. For a directory of retailers that offer an eGift card, try …it is the most extensive one I have found to date. Hope that helped. 🙂

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