Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Green Up Your Christmas!

A quick trip through your local Target store this time of year bears ample witness to just how many resources are devoted to the celebration of our premiere winter holiday. Aisle after aisle of gifts, cards, wrapping, lights, decorations for the home and yard … it can be pretty overwhelming. And not just to our financial resources, but also to our natural resources.

You’ve likely seen some lists of things you can do to green up your Christmas celebrations. Ideas such as home-made decorations, hand-made gifts, creating cloth-wrapping bags for presents are all wonderful, but can be time-intensive. If you are already feeling crunched, these may seem out of reach.

But there are some things you can do to lessen your impact; to incorporate the three “Rs” - reduce, reuse, recycle - into your holiday preparations. Try one or two and see if they can become part of your annual holiday scheme.

News Wrap
Photo by Tracy / CC BY NC-ND 2.0

Wrap it Up

Promote reuse by using colorful gift bags – easy to open, easy to store and reuse. If that is impractical, purchase recycled and recyclable gift wrap. Designate reuse and recycling containers when opening gifts. Pay homage to your grandparents – hang on to those bows to use again next year.

Keep it in the Neighborhood

Perhaps you don’t have the time (or inclination) to make gifts, but it’s quite likely someone in your area does! Seek out locally-produced items to reduce the use of energy in materials transportation, and incidentally, promote home-town pride.

Blue Christmas
Photo by jpmatth / CC BY NC-ND2.0

Let it Shine

Christmas lighting displays can feel magical – and be expensive to operate. Minimize the cost and maximize the cheer by not leaving lights on overnight; use timers or simply turn them off at bedtime. And when your old lights go on the fritz, replace them with high-efficiency LED light strings.

Make it Personal

While some folks could use more material goods, many others are over “stuffed”. Give the gift of an experience – a movie, play, museum visit, ski trip, Segway tour, escape adventure, you-name-it, there are many awesome gifts that don’t contribute to the waste stream but do enrich our lives.

Cranberry Wreath
Photo by Jill Staake

It's for the Birds

This idea requires bit of work, but provides a lot of joy – decorate your yard with edible ornaments. Make bird seed wreaths, garlands of cranberries and popcorn (unsalted and unbuttered), cover pinecones with peanut butter and birdseed, hang strings of raw peanuts, and set out some of the ever-popular birdseed-suet ornaments in star or snowflake shapes. Instructions for the wreath shown can be found at Birds & Blooms Magazine. Find more ideas online! Your backyard wildlife will celebrate your choices.

Whatever changes you decide to incorporate, have a holly, jolly green Christmas!

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