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How to Stay “Green” During the Holidays

The holidays at the end of the year are a magical time of celebration, love, and hope. As the eggnog flows and the fireplace crackles, families enjoy the simple things like decorating trees and listening to classic holiday music. But with the over-commercialization of the holidays millions of families will also shell out tons of money for cards, gifts, wrapping, decorations, and more.

The winter holidays can be a time of great waste. Follow these guidelines to protect the environment during the holidays.Staying Green for the Holidays

  • Purchase a locally grown tree that you can plant outside to keep growing long after the holidays end.
  • If you do purchase a natural tree, dispose of it at a chipping facility instead of leaving it out on the curb.
  • Take your family out in nature and plant a tree to make up for the tree you may have purchased to keep the local ecosystem in balance.
  • Decorate with LED strings of lights, which conserve energy and are more eco-friendly.
  • If possible, avoid using lights heavily in your decorating. Perhaps focus on other yuletide imagery to cut down electricity use.
  • Set your indoor and outdoor lights to a timer to conserve electricity throughout the day.
  • Avoid store bought Christmas cards. Construct homemade Christmas cards with your family. The Christmas cards bought in America last year required nearly 300,000 trees.
  • Reuse gift wrap whenever possible. Don’t buy sheets of wrapping paper that must be discarded after one use-instead, use durable gift bags.
  • Only purchase environmentally friendly, recyclable wrapping paper. The annual amount of trash in the United States just from wrapping paper weighs 4 million tons.
  • Save all ribbons and bows purchased for gift-wrapping and reuse them as many times as possible before discarding them.
  • Buy fewer presents per person. Most excessive gift purchasing strains family expenses, and many gifts are thrown away without proper use. Only purchase gifts that you are certain are wanted.
  • Instead of purchasing store bought presents, spend money on experiences, like buying tickets to a concert or a gift card to the local cinema.
  • Re-gift any thoughtful items you received in the past few years that have not been put to proper use in your own home. Never throw away unused gifts.
  • Cook snacks, treats, and other homemade items as gifts instead of purchasing a bulky gift with a lot of packaging.
  • Offer personal favors and services as a gift, like cooking, gardening, or any of your unique skills.
  • Make homemade holiday recipes instead of buying themed drinks and snacks from the store.
  • Serve food with washable utensils and plates. Don’t buy paper or plastic plates and utensils for the holiday meal.

Cutting down on waste during the holidays really brings into focus how much garbage we generate in a calendar year. In addition to following these conservation tips, implement practices at home that generate less waste, like ditching plastic bottles and switching to reusable bottles to protect the environment.

Go green this holiday season and give back to the planet in the same way you give back to your family.

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