‘Tis the season … to be green. Make it a more eco-friendly holiday this year by reducing, reusing and recycling what you can. Give back to Mother Nature and take a moment to enjoy the splendor of the great outdoors in the wintertime, too. Here are ten ways to make your holiday season all the more green and merrier.
1. Buy Locally Made Gifts.
Give back to your community and avoid buying gifts from halfway around the world by stocking up on gifts at a local craft fair or your favorite local shops and independent bookstores.
2. Buy Battery-Free Gifts.
Any parent will tell you that they prefer the toys minus the batteries. And since discarded batteries are an environmental hazard, you’ll know you’re gifting responsibly with battery-free toys.
3. Take a (Winter Hike).
Bundle up and head into the great outdoors. There’s nothing quite like taking a hike in a snow-blanketed forest. Bring a thermos of hot cocoa to keep warm.
4. Give a Gift to Your Animal Friends.
Make pine cone bird treats for your winged pals by tying a string around a pine cone and spreading it with peanut butter and rolling it in birdseed. Place your pine cone feeder in a tree near your window so you can enjoy visiting with your lovely bird neighbors over the holidays.
5. Use LED holiday lights.
LED holiday lights use less energy than traditional holiday bulbs and last longer too. It’s time to make the switch before you turn on the holiday light switch.
6. Buy a real tree.
Yes, artificial trees are reusable, but they’re made of petroleum products and eventually they lose their luster and end up in landfills. Buy a small, real tree in a pot and start a new family tradition by heading outdoors to transplant it in the early spring when the ground thaws. If you opt for a larger, cut Christmas tree, be sure to recycle it: many cities offer tree recycling, which will shred your tree into compost.
7. Be creative with your gift wrapping.
Choose recycled wrapping paper or wrap up your gifts with reuseable fabric scraps and bows. Re-use wrapping paper and gather any gift bags to use again next year. The comic section of the newspaper always makes for fun gift wrap, too!
8. Recycle old electronics.
If you’re upgrading your electronic devices this year, don’t send the discards to a landfill. The EPA offers a great guide to resources where you can donate and recycle old electronics.
9. Make your own holiday cards.
Why send expensive, store-bought cards when you can make your own using recycled materials? Even better, make a point of calling or visiting your friends and relatives, to offer a truly personalized holiday greeting.
10. Buy Less.
Commit to focusing on the true meaning behind the holiday season and make a point of giving non-material gifts. Volunteer in a soup kitchen. Bring a neighbor some homemade cookies and cocoa. Gather around the fireplace with your kids and read on holiday book together every evening. The gift of your love and time mean more than any throwaway toy or knick knack.