The holidays are a time for peace on Earth and goodwill toward men, but decorating your home with hundreds of energy-zapping twinkle lights and throwing away four garbage bags full of wrapping paper doesn’t really fit either category. According to the EPA Blog, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, American household waste increases by more than 25 percent. During the holiday season, we will throw away a million extra tons of garbage each week, including holiday wrapping and packaging. And we will use more electricity on holiday lights than some countries use in an entire year. Luckily, eco-conscious yuletide cheer is just as festive as some of the more traditional options. Here are six eco-friendly holiday tips to help you reduce your environmental footprint this holiday season.
There are many ways you can give smart this season. DIY gifts like handcrafted candles, a homemade blanket, or handmade beauty products can be as much fun to make and give as to receive. Or try arranging a secondhand-gift exchange. Part of the fun of thrift shopping is discovering hidden treasures that may be decades old, and changing it up with secondhand gifts is a fun way to shop that’s also good for the environment.
Decorate with nature.
Avoid buying cheap plastic items that fall apart easily and cannot be recycled. Using green plants and fresh flowers, fruits, pine cones, and evergreens for home decorating are clever and stylish ways to protect the environment. Natural holiday decor saves money and provides an organic beauty. Green holiday decorating ideas are simple and classic, plus they create more time to enjoy the festive season and relax with family and friends.
DIY the decor.
Not only can you bring the outside in to help green up your holiday, you can find other ways to decorate while being kind to the earth. Pledge to trim your tree with only homemade decorations. Create popcorn and cranberry garland, make salt dough ornaments, and top it with a paper plate angel. Upcycle old sweaters to make pillows, stockings, or even mini Christmas trees. Decorate your mantels with paper trees, and ceilings with paper snowflakes. You can turn your home into a winter wonderland with little money and a lot of creativeness.
Use energy-saving lights.
LED Christmas lights are an easy swap to make that save more than 95 percent of energy over time, according to Eartheasy.com. As an added bonus, LEDs release little heat, and they last about 200,000 hours. In the unlikely event that one does burn out, the rest of the lights keep on glowing. Also, go for mini lights instead of larger lights, and shut them off when you go to bed, nobody is appreciating lights at two in the morning. While LED lights may be a little bit more expensive initially because they use less energy you can recoup the cost on your monthly bill.
Make your wrapping paper.
Making your gift wrap is a chance not only to save money but help the environment by recycling or repurposing products. You could use altered versions of newspaper, paper grocery bags, old magazines, comic books, freezer paper or even leftover gift wrap in a creative way that is eco-friendly and less wasteful.
Recycle your tree.
One of our favorite Christmas traditions is the tree. From picking it out to bringing it home, to decorating it, the Christmas tree never fails to bring a smile to our faces. No matter how much we love our tree, however, there comes a time to bid it goodbye. Instead of dragging your tree to the curb and sending it to the landfill, there are many ways to give your tree a second life by recycling it. You can compost it, donate it to a local farm (goats love them!), take it to an oceanside town to help rebuild dunes, or even get creative and make your mulch or build a bird sanctuary.
Make this holiday season one to remember by creating new traditions with your loved ones, saving the planet, and having a blast by bringing these earth savvy and festive projects to life!