Green Holiday Preparation – More than Just the Tree!
Besides the fact that green is basically one of only two colors we have to think about for an entire month and your home is probably about to get be-decked in greenery from pine trees and boughs and wreaths galore, not a lot of us (surely not enough of us) really think about how we can make our actual holiday preparations green. Yet, this month and season is one of the greatest for taking advantage of every opportunity to be greener, from our holiday baking to our gift wrapping. If you’re ready to be green this season, here are some easy ways to get started.
Rather than purchase holiday cards which bring down your green “score” so to speak, with the paper used, ink used, emissions transporting the cards to your store and then the emissions used to deliver cards to destinations across the US, consider making this your year to go with e-cards. If you’re a family and like to do pictures, this actually makes it even easier. Or, you can opt for my favorite idea and film a short clip of the family wishing everyone happy holidays, a silly skit or a Christmas carol or whatever else your creative mind can think up! Attach the clip to an e-card and you’ve got a Christmas card destined to go down in history!
The dilemma with a Christmas tree is always trying to decide which is greener, killing a tree and using the real thing or saving a tree and buying an artificial one but supporting the manufacturing process that was probably not green. Most artificial trees are made with metal, lead and PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a plastic that is completely non bio-degradable. Hence, if you do opt for an artificial tree, you’re stuck with something that will be non-recyclable and non-biodegradable and will never break down if tossed into a landfill. If you live in a location where this exists, the very greenest options are the adopt-a-tree programs! These organizations dig up and re-pot small Christmas trees which you get to keep in your home for around 10 days and then take back, at which point the trees get re-planted in their original home.
Rather than purchase all new rolls of wrapping paper every year, consider making your own or recycling wrapping paper from years past. (If you’ve never done this before, make this year your year to start!) Unwrapping gifted presents carefully can mean all kinds of paper saved for next year that never looks used. You can also use “wrapping paper” you can find around the house: newspaper (comics are my favorite!) and recycled brown paper bags are always great go-to choices. Brown paper with red ribbon is actually very classy and elegant. Don’t want to use paper? How about a gift basket or using fabric? You can even make the wrapping itself a gift by using items like a new scarf.
Bedazzling with Lights!
Christmas preparation just wouldn’t be the same without decking out the house inside and out with Christmas lights. Or, at the very least, you most likely have them on the Christmas tree. Yet, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, just 10 strings of incandescent lights running for a night produces 300 pounds of CO2. Replacing those standard 10 strings with incandescent lights results you producing just 30 pounds total! Though it will cost more upfront to purchase LED lights, they’re 90% more efficient and last at least twice as long so the investment long-run is well worth it.
The Options Are Endless
These are just a few of the infinite ways to green up your holiday preparation this year. As you travel, try to stay close to home, or even consider purchasing carbon offset certification if you fly home. Bake with local and organic ingredients as much as you can; recycle ornaments and decorations from last year. Gift your time instead of your money. You name it! Less is usually more, and greener too.
Image courtesy of HikingArtist on Flickr via Creative Commons License.
Guest post by Jocelyn Anne who writes green content for Air and Water.