Green Christmas Holiday Ideas

By heather at 8:44 pm on Thursday, December 21, 2006

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything “green” so here are some tips to help make it through the wasteful holiday season a little more environmentally friendly.

Green Christmas Decorating Ideas :

  • Christmas Lights : LED (light emitting diode) holidays lights less watts per bulb (0.04 watts per bulb) compared to the usual miniature bulbs that use ten times as much electricity. For outdoor lights, put them on a timer so that they aren’t on all night…not many people are out between the hours of 3-6am to enjoy them anyway!
  • Cranberry strings : bring a classic flare to the tree…and can be eaten by animals after the holidays
  • Avoid using tinsel as it does not decompose. Consider purchasing glass / plastic icicles instead.
  • My personal trick : I found an old chandelier at a garage sale for $15….I took all the crystals off teh chandelier, and used them on the Christmas tree…it makes the tree look very rich & sparkly!
  • Christmas Trees : either use a fake tree (a decent one looks just like a real tree & lasts for years), compost your tree after the season, or even plant a potted norfolk pine / fig tree to use every year.

Green Christmas Wrapping Ideas :

  • Use fabric to “fold” presents into, and tie together with a ribbon or twine…the fabric can be reused again and again, and looks very elegant under a tree.
  • Reuse wrapping paper, boxes, and bags that you & your family receive this year.
  • If you prefer wrapping paper, buy wrap that is recycled and doesn’t have shiny foil embellishments as they take more resources to make than simple printed papers
  • Give a gift within a gift : such as tins, reusable fabric bags, or wooden boxes.
  • Gift Tags : cut up and reuse old greeting cards, calendars, or scraps of wrapping paper to make gift tags

Green Tips for Christmas Gifts :

  • When shopping for gifts, avoid accumulating bags for small purchases (especially those tiny bags that are too small for the garbage) by bringing your own shopping bag, or just putting everything into a bag from a larger purchase.
  • Quality over Quantity : a better quality gift is often valued more than a one-time-use inexpensive gift. If budget is an issue, visit a local second hand shop, or try Ebay…you can often find good quality gifts at a fraction of the cost.
  • Buy gifts unpackaged or minimally packaged
  • Consider the impact of the gift…will the recipient find it useful, or is it a one-time-use gift?
  • Avoid purchasing disposable products, plastic or electronic gadgets with limited use, or anything in aerosol containers.

Dining & Entertaining :

  • A Classy Affair : entertain with dishes, glasswear, fabric napkins & silverware rather than disposable paper & plastic. This is cheaper in the long run and more elegant! You can pick up very inexpensive dinnerware at shops like the dollar store or IKEA…or borrow from a neighbor, or visit the op-shop.
  • Buy Bulk : buying snacks & goodies from a bulk store can reduce the amount of packaging if you were to buy the same bit-by-bit throughout the holidays. It is also less expensive than purchasing smaller packages of food.
  • Compost leftovers that can’t be saved or given to guests in reusable containers
  • Make it easy for your guests to recycle
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