Are you looking forward to exchanging gifts with your family and friends this Christmas season? It's always fun to see the reaction on a loved one's face when you give them a gift they will enjoy. As you enjoy this time with your family, why not take a few steps to make this an eco-friendly Christmas? Not surprisingly, a lot of extra waste ends up in landfills this time of year. In fact, Americans produce an extra 25 million tons of garbage during the holiday season. Fortunately, we can reduce the amount of garbage going into our landfills and nurture the health of our environment by trying just a few new things during the holidays.
Eight Tips for a Truly Green Christmas
- Make an Edible Gift This Year. Take one Mason jar, add the basic ingredients to make delectable chocolate chip cookies, and you have a beautiful, eco-friendly Christmas gift. Other ideas for this Mason jar gift include ingredients to make pasta soup, hot cocoa, cornbread, or bean soup. Be sure to write the steps of the recipe on a small card to attach to the jar. The recipient can reuse the Mason jar, so there's little to no waste.
- Bring Reusable Bags on Your Shopping Trips. Gather up all of your reusable shopping bags for you and your family members before going out to shop. This prevents the circulation of more plastic bags that may end up in the landfill.
- Make Your Own Wrapping Paper. Use old newspaper or colorful scrap paper as gift wrap this year. I suggest getting the kids or grandkids involved by letting them decorate your homemade gift wrap with crayons, paint, and markers. This gives new life to paper that may have been tossed into the trash.
- Shop for Presents Online. Instead of getting into your car and cruising the mall for a parking space, shop online for your gifts. You can save gas and reduce air pollution created by so many cars on the road this time of year.
- Give the Gift of Your Time and Talents. Do you have a talent for fixing small appliances, painting interior walls, or putting up new kitchen cabinets? In lieu of giving a traditional gift, share your talents with your loved ones this year. If your friend needs help painting a room, volunteer for the job. If your niece needs help putting a new tire on her bike, give her a hand! Your loved ones will get great gifts without any wrapping paper or waste involved.
- Send E-Cards Instead of Traditional Cards. When you send e-cards out to your family and friends, you save paper as well as the gas used by the mail carrier to deliver your cards to their recipients.
- Recycle Your Christmas Tree. After enjoying your tree this year, consider using its branches for mulch. Or you can throw your tree into the woods to serve as a winter home for birds, rodents, or other wildlife.
- Use LED Lights for Your Tree. LED lights are energy-efficient, using 80 percent less energy than traditional Christmas lights. Make the switch to LED lights this year and save energy while enhancing the beauty of the season.
Try one or more of these tips and start a green Christmas tradition for your family this year. Thanks for reading. - Alan