The holidays are a magical time spent with the people we love, but their ecological footprint can be immense during this time of year. And while it seems like being eco-friendly could tarnish the holiday spirit, it doesn't have to if you do it right! Here are some tips for making it a festive celebration without the guilt:
1) Use newspaper or old brown paper bags for wrapping.
You can cover them in painted stamps and use the colorful comics section, crosswords, or their favorite sports section for that little extra bit of personalization. It looks unique, simple, and oh-so beautiful!
2) Skip the ribbon and bows, use twine, or make them out of magazines & newspapers!
Ribbons and bows are such a waste and end up in the landfills where they can harm wildlife and the environment.These, on the other hand, are adorable DIY magazine bows that can be recycled like paper or reused for future holidays! Talk about reduce, reuse, recycle!!!
3) Recycle the paper after you've opened presents instead of trashing it.
Wrapping paper, no matter what you decide to use, should be recycled and not thrown into the trash. Be sure to take the time to make sure you recycle cardboard tags, paper, and cards during clean-up!
4) For every Christmas tree you chop down, plant two new trees come spring!
You can do the planet some good by planting ANY kind of tree in your backyard or in your local neighborhood in honor of the one you chopped down for the holidays this year! It's a great tradition for the whole family, even your entire local community to join in on!
5) Try an artificial tree instead!
Nothing like already having the LED lights already skillfully hung on the tree, no annoying pine needles, having to water the tree, or having to drag it home every year! Plus, it saves chopping down another tree. Nowadays, you can't even tell it's not the real thing. For some extra pizzazz, add a pine scent air freshener!
6) Buy local.
With all the gas needed to transport merchandise, try to buy locally to lessen your ecological footprint. It's also great to support small, local businesses instead of big corporations. And if the products are fair trade certified? Even more reasons to be giddy with holiday cheer!
7) Put timers on any decorations/lights and use LEDs when you can.
No reason to have them going all day and night! Set them to go off during the prime hours 5-10 PM when most people are actually around to see them, especially indoor ones when you're asleep. Also, to be extra energy efficient, make sure your lights are LEDs!
8) Reuse what you can from year-to-year.
Save the wrapping paper, ribbons, those cardboard boxes perfect for wrapping oddly shaped things, and of course decorations! Or repurpose all those Christmas cards for something perfect to hang up next year, like this adorable wreath.
9) Send E-cards.
Save the paper and the mailing trip by using E-cards instead! They are an ecological family's best friend during the holidays.
10) Turn down the thermostat and bundle up a little more!
A small but impactful gesture for saving the planet and even money? Lowering the thermostat a few degrees in favor of putting on a fluffy sweater instead! Now you can cuddle up with a blanket and some hot chocolate to enjoy the coziness of the holiday season while lightening your impact on the earth!