I love Christmas but I am the first to admit that it can be a very wasteful holiday. Christmas has become over-commercialized,  and we often focus more on buying gifts than on spending time with friends and loved ones. If you would like to green your Christmas celebration and make a few eco-friendly choices, I hope that you’ll try a few of these ideas.

Gift Experiences

Instead of purchasing your dad another tie or coffee mug that he probably doesn’t need, gift him an experience instead. Buy tickets to a play or a sports game or take him out to lunch. If you must have something to wrap and put under the tree, make him a card that describes your gift, or wrap the tickets. The memories of your time together will be the best gift of all.

Make Gifts

Even if you aren’t crafty, you can bake up a batch of Christmas cookies or a plate of fudge. If cooking isn’t your thing, frame a photo of the kids for Grandma. Put together jars of lavender bath salts for your best friend or your child’s teacher. Most people would much rather have a homemade gift than the latest trinket from the department store.

Reuse Wrapping

After the mad dash of opening presents, there’s always a huge pile of wrapping paper to deal with. Most wrapping paper is not recyclable because it’s glossy. If you’re careful, you can reuse the wrapping paper next year. Just cut it slightly smaller to remove the taped areas. Or wrap presents in gift bags that can be used again and again.

Minimize Decorations

We all want our homes to feel festive for the holiday, but try not to go overboard. When considering buying more decorations this year, ask yourself if your home really needs more bling. I tend to prefer minimal decorations because I can then focus on the ones that are truly special to me. Consider using decorations from nature, like pine cones and cranberries, instead of baubles mass produced in other countries.

Watch the Electricity

Does everything need to sparkle, blink, whirr, play music, and dance around? Ask yourself how many light strings, giant inflatable snowmen, and twinkling lights you actually need. If you decide to use these types of decoration, make sure that you use a timer to minimize electricity consumption. There is no need to have all of the lights and decorations on at 2 AM, when everyone is asleep.

Do you have any green Christmas tips to add?