I have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season, in spite of . . . well, in spite of a lot of things. So despite the fact that we can’t spend the holidays with our extended families this year, I’m determined to enjoy this time of year, and also to celebrate one of the colors of the season: green! Here are a few ideas on how to celebrate a “greener” holiday. (I’ll keep it brief, since I’m ready to get down to some serious holiday eating.)
The all-important tree
Get your tree from a sustainable, local farm and be sure to properly dispose of it. Some curbside programs will turn the trees into wood chips for landscaping projects; or you can compost the tree yourself. Some companies even offer “tree rental” services! Artificial trees are reusable, but take note—you’ll probably have to reuse them for about 20 years for them to truly be a “green” investment.
Light up the night
Trade out your old bulbs for LED lights, which can use up to 80% less energy, last a lot longer, and can be programmed to blink in any color of the rainbow. Oh, and be sure to turn them off when you aren’t around to enjoy them!
Put a bow on it
Wrapping paper is probably one of the most wasteful things we use during the holidays. Some wrap can be recycled, but other paper has foil or glitter elements on it that are not recyclable. You could use recycled brown paper and dress up packages with pretty bows and greenery for pops of color. Or use fun fabrics to wrap your gifts, or gift bags that can be reused year after year.
Upcycle your decor
Try making some of your own decorations this year, with greenery gathered from a local park or by upcycling materials you already have on hand, like old glass candle jars. Flip through some holiday magazines and get creative! If you like holiday candles, try natural beeswax candles, or soy candles if you’re vegan.
Give from the heart
Instead of purchasing lots of new gifts, go eco-friendly. Make a gift for Grandma this year (who doesn’t love homemade cookies or some sweet drawings or handprints from the kids?). Shop for one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts in local stores or from your favorite Etsy boutique. Consider buying your kids one big gift instead of a bunch of smaller ones, especially if they are older. Or make a donation to your giftee’s favorite charity in lieu of a physical present.
Life is crazy. Let’s enjoy the holidays as much as we can this year. Share a little color. Share a little love. And stay safe, everyone!