How to Green Your Holiday

During the holiday season we are inundated with bright sparkly lights, the smell of pine and festive decorations. Sadly, not all of those items listed are good for our environment. So this year try adding a green spin. You will see how easy it is to go green during this holiday season.

Outdoor Decoration

When it comes to house lights for the holiday try upgrading your older lights to new energy efficient LED lights. These lights are 80 to 90 percent more efficient that incandescent's. LED's are also safer for your family, since they run cooler which makes them less of a fire hazard. Also for a 30 day period of time incandescent lights can cost around $18 whereas LED lights only cost $.19. One last nifty note, if one LED bulb goes out on the strand the rest of the strand will stay lit.[i]
As for your other outdoor decorations try and reduce the size of your display this year. Decorating for the holiday is not a challenge it is about spreading holiday cheer. Go with what you think is spirited and not try to challenge your neighbor to a light dual. Another note would be to turn your lights off when going to bed. Its not energy efficient to leave your lights on whilst everyone is asleep.One such item that will help you make sure your lights go on and off at the right time would be a light timer. Light timers range from 10 dollars to around 25 and can be found at most home improvement stores.

The Tree

Though your artificial tree seems so easy and convenient for your busy lifestyle as well as environmentally friendly, try going with a live tree this year. Artificial trees are made up of PVC, a petroleum-based plastic, and carry a large carbon footprint. A study shows that a household would have to keep their fake tree for 20 years to have an impact on natural tree levels.[ii] Also, once your artificial tree has called it quits it will go to a landfill where a majority of it will sit for decades, since it is not biodegradable.
If you were to switch to a live tree this year you would be making a more sustainable choice. Live trees for the most part are locally sourced so their carbon footprint is much smaller. Also live trees help with air pollution while they are growing on the tree farms as well as if or when you replant them after the holidays. 

Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper is one of those items that is a must for your holiday celebration. It’s not as if you can let others know what you got them, but much of that wrapping paper goes to the waste once it has been used. So this year try an option that is easier on the environment.

Some options would be using hemp or recycled paper from previous years as well as fabric scraps, comic books strips, old calendars and maps. With some of these options you can get pretty creative with how you present the gift. Also, when choosing gift wrap try to steer clear of glossy foil or metallic wrap, since those types of papers are difficult to recycle. It is hard to separate out the heavy metals from the paper itself so the paper can become mulch.

Green Gifts

Whenever it comes to thinking of gifts for others people usually revert back to the almighty gift cards or sweaters, but this year think outside of the box and give a green gift. See some green gift ideas below. [iii]

Help a Good Cause: Give a gift that can help animal or environmental conservation groups.

Recycle or Upcycled Goods: Visit sights such as Etsy to find items that are beautiful and are made of recycled items.

Help Reduce Waste: Give a gift that will help others cut down on waste. These items can range from small to large in size.
Kill the Watts: Give a gift that should be counted as two gifts. Help someone cut down on energy use and in turn saves them moolah! I think that this gift goes above and beyond 

[i] “How to have a ‘green’ Christmas”, Dec., 5, 2014,
[ii] “Drought Intensifies Christmas Tree Debate:, Dec., 18,2014,
[iii]“ 9 Green Gift Ideas For the Holiday Season”, Dec. 15, 2014,