Green Holiday Tips

With the holidays fast approaching, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and lose site of what is really important during the holidays.

According to the Medical University of South Carolina, household waste increases by more than 25% between Thanksgiving and New Years.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, how can you as an individual create the smallest carbon footprint this holiday season?

Green Living Girls has 10 tips for helping you keep your holidays green.

  1. Instead of paper cards, send your holiday greetings via e-mail. Each year we get the kids picture taken with Santa. I then scan the picture, put a little holiday greeting on it and e-mail it to all our friends and family.  If you must send a traditional holiday card, opt for a postcard.  You’ll save on postage and help reduce paper by omitting the envelope.
  2. Use reusable glass/plastic ware and cloth napkins at your holiday gatherings. Sure it is really easy at the end of the night to simply toss everything in the garbage, but instead, load the dishwasher and wash the cloth napkins. Not only is it economical to use reusable serving pieces, it is classy, sophisticated and sure to impress your guests.  Anyone can set out paper plates and plastic cups.
  3. Be mindful when purchasing gifts. A thoughtful, meaningful gift will always be appreciated.  Look for Fair Trade Alternatives and Eco-friendly gifts.
  4. Serve local and organic food and spirits when possible.
  5. Wrap gifts in reusable material or reused wrapping paper. You can use fabric, dish towels, old maps and the comics to wrap gifts and bottles of wine. Use old saved wrapping paper or make your own.
  6. Make your own gift tags. Use old greeting cards, construction paper – just about anything to create your own personal gift tags.
  7. Reuse gift boxes. Boxes can be used for packing or mailing gifts, storing ornaments and holiday items, kids crafts… for just about anything.
  8. Use LED holiday lights. Be sure to turn your lights off each night and not to leave them on overnight. If you can, put them on a timer.
  9. Get a pesticide-free tree or a fake tree. Most Christmas trees are farmed so look for one that is not covered with pesticides.  Better yet, get a fake tree that you can reuse year after year or forgo a tree altogether.
  10. RECYCLE, RECYLE, RECYCLE – recycle everything that can be – the Christmas tree, wrapping paper, boxes.  Most communities have programs to recycle your tree.  If you are not aware of your communities’ pickup policy call and find out.  Most wrapping paper is not recyclable due to the foil, plastic backing and synthetic materials used to produce it.

This year, instead of trying to keep up with the Jones, remember the true meaning of the holidays – celebrating and creating traditions with your family and friends, counting your blessings, giving back and looking after those who may not be as fortunate…and perhaps helping the environment in the process.

Happy Holiday!


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