How To Celebrate An Environmentally Friendly Christmas

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It’s a season of shopping, eating and travel but there are many ways to celebrate and enjoy the holidays while having an environmentally friendly Christmas. Tis the most wonderful time of the year to be sure, but it’s also a time for tons of paper use and gas guzzling from driving all over town and buying, buying, buying!

Sometimes people think being environmentally friendly means you have to miss out on something, but this Christmas you can have a wonderful holiday and enjoy the gift giving and travel while being mindful of the environment and even save money – which could make this holiday season the best ever. With a few simple steps you can not only enjoy Christmas but make it a good holiday for the environment.

Saving and Reusing

  • Reuse Christmas decorations: Saving and reusing is a big part of eliminating waste and with this one step you can make your holiday that much more green.
  • There is no need to rebuy items you use every year like Christmas tree ornaments and lights (unless the don’t work anymore.) For one thing you save money on those items and for another you help the environment.
  • Being environmentally friendly does not have to mean eating vegan and not wearing fur, but it means using the items you have to their fullest before repurchasing. So simply by keeping items from year to year you are being environmentally friendly. Plus, by keeping items you can create Christmas traditions that last and continue on for generations, which is, after all, a big reason the holidays are so meaningful. You save money, you save the environment which is a win-win for the season.
  • LED Lights: Christmas lights have been made with LED since 2001 and they are 90% more efficient than traditional Christmas lights.
  • According to National Geographic, if everyone replaced their light strings with LED’s at least two billion kilowatt-hours of electricity could be saved in a month and that savings would power 200,000 homes for a year. In addition, in the event one light does go out in the string (an often pesky problem) they all don’t go out. Another win-win.
  • Re-use boxes and get creative with wrapping paper: Boxes for shirts and pants and even household items can often be re-used from year to year and that will save on the trees that go into making them. Plus you will save money on boxes that you often have to buy.
  • You can also consider re-use of wrapping paper, so try saving in this way if you can. And before you go to the store to buy tons of wrapping paper think of items you already have that you can use to wrap your gifts. You might have old magazines around that can make rather cool wrapping paper or even old newspapers. It can give your gift a unique look and save on paper, which means saving trees and the environment.
  • Consider if you need to wrap your gifts at all, if you can save on this you will still get the joy of gift giving only this time with added bonus of helping avoid waste.
  • Save the trees: You may like that new tree smell in the house but forests are hurt by chopping trees so consider a tree you can re-use every year and save the forest. You can always have a scented candle or potpourri to give your home that pine forest smell if you want it.
  • Driving: You have to go Christmas gift shopping, food shopping and then of course back out to the stores a million times for all those little things you forget – and that’s just you. There’s your significant other, kids, friends that need a ride, and all that gas guzzling adds up so it’s a good idea to plan ahead for these trips. Make a shopping day for the family to go to the mall together to do your shopping and save on gas so you don’t make more trips than necessary. Make lists of all the food stores you need to go to for your meal and buddy up with a friend if you can. Saving on gas use also means saving on gas costs so you have more money in the bank, which is another win-win.
Ready for Planting Finished Product

Christmas Day

  • Start Recycling: As you start cooking your Christmas feast, start recycling if you don’t already do so. All those aluminum, plastic and paper products you use can add up and before you know it you will have ten bags of recyclable products. Most cities provide trash containers for these items so separating them can be as simple as putting out two garbage bags and putting recyclables in the proper bag. Once you get in the habit it’s easy and you will be amazed how much you end up recycling.
  • Composting: OK, this is definitely one step past recycling but why not start with this big meal as your first to start composting. Many families enjoy it as they see how much use they get out of their old food products.

Christmas is one of the most enjoyable times of the year and with a little planning you can also make it an energy efficient time of the year as well for your and your family.

Last Updated: December 19, 2011
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About Leah Gillis Leah Gillis has worked for several major news outlets, as well as a television series on home buying and decor. Having grown up in New England, she has lived in New York City, Los Angeles and Milan. When not trying to get a great deal, she is often found reading something, writing something or talking to someone.

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