Are you dreaming of a green Christmas? Many families eagerly await the arrival of the holiday season every year. For many, the holidays can be a time of sharing important family traditions and taking in the sights and sounds of Christmas. For others, anticipating the giving of gifts and seeing the joy in others’ faces is the highlight. If you are looking for ways to enjoy the holiday season without increasing your carbon footprint, here are five easy tips to have an eco-friendly holiday.
Choose local homemade and organic foods.
The holidays wouldn’t be the same without some of the mouth-watering meals that families share together. If you are planning on putting together a big spread this year, be sure to choose foods from local growers, buy organic products and treat yourself (or make) homemade treats. Try to avoid buying products that are over-processed, packaged in non-biodegradable containers or that are exported from other countries. Buying locally cuts down on fuel emissions and it supports the local economy, providing jobs for people right in your own community.
Use re-usable shopping bags.
As you head out to the malls to shop for gifts for loved ones, don’t forget to bring along your re-usable shopping bags. The average shopper can accumulate up to 10 plastic bags on one shopping trip, so using re-usable bags will cut down on the amount that end up in landfills after the holiday season. There are many great colorful choices in re-useable shopping bags this year – even some that are folded up into tiny compact packets that tuck neatly into purses and pockets for holiday shopping convenience.
Take advantage of free shipping.
Why use gas and waste time in crowded shopping centers when you can shop right from the comfort of your home? Grab a cup of hot cocoa and your favorite catalogues and click on retailers that offer free shipping for added savings. In many cases, you can even include a holiday greeting message with your gifts, get packages wrapped in colorful holiday wrap, and use coupons to save on all your online purchases. Be sure to check out stores that offer rebates and gift cards for shopping online.
Send holiday greetings for free.
This year, why spend hours writing holiday cards, trying to dig out that address book and spending a small fortune on stamps? There are many ways to send out holiday greetings without contributing to millions of trees being cut down for paper products by sending free e-cards and greetings right to people’s emails. Many e-greeting companies allow you to send photos, music and virtual gift cards too.
Use a live tree.
If you must have a live Christmas tree, why not purchase one that can be planted in your yard once the holidays are over? Many tree growers are offering the choice of live trees this year that come in handy planters that tuck under tree skirts during the holidays. Once the New Year rolls around, you can plant the tree in your yard as a permanent year-round reminder of your green holiday cheer.
Tess C. Taylor