Getting the Whole Family to Go Green This Year
The only thing better than a white Christmas is a green Christmas! The holiday season can be hectic, what with your Great Aunt Bedelia demanding that you also house and feed her eight Persian cats during her visit. The children want a dog, and your husband wants a new MacBook, but what he really needs is a new set of nose hair trimmers.
And you? You just want a vacation. One way to reduce the stress of the holiday season is to make sure that your holiday celebrations are green and contribute to environmental sustainability! Below are eight ways you can have yourself a green Christmas and maybe even get to relax a bit in the process. Read on!
1. Use LED Christmas Lights
Driving around at night looking at houses elaborately decked out in extravagant Christmas light displays while clutching your Starbucks hot chocolate may be fun, but thousands of watts of electricity are burned every year on and around Christmas that could otherwise be saved.
Elaborate house decorations are entertaining, and we aren’t suggesting you get all Puritan about it. But by replacing your regular Christmas lights with LED ones, you will save hundreds of dollars and kilowatts of energy!
2. Make Your Christmas Gifts
If it’s the thought that counts, then making your family Christmas gifts instead of buying into our neo-liberal capitalist system is the way to go! You could print out your favorite Facebook photos of your brother with his weirdest haircut and frame it with twigs from your backyard. Add a rhinestone or fifteen (you have spare ones in that random junk drawer, right?) for extra pizzazz.
You could also knit giant scarves or paint a portrait of the family iguana to hang in the foyer!
3. Buy Locally for the Christmas Dinner
When you buy local meat and produce for your Christmas feast, you not only save money but save the earth from excessive carbon dioxide emissions that would have occurred had you purchased those almonds from Morocco rather than California!
4. Get an Organically Grown and Locally Sourced Tree
This does not mean your neighbor’s too-tall pine tree is suddenly up for grabs. It does mean that you can go to your local Christmas tree farm and pick one out in the cheesiest, most Charlie Brown way!
Every holiday season, thousands of Christmas trees are shipped all over the United States so families can have the perfect tree. Settle for something a little quirkier or smaller, and rest easy in your conscience!
5. Use Rechargeable Batteries
The holiday season just so happens to occur during the darkest time of the year, which means thousands of batteries are used up and shoved into junk drawers all across the country! Prevent this by properly recycling old batteries (so the chemical waste doesn’t harm your home) and investing in rechargeable batteries. These ones from Best Buy are fairly affordable!
6. Buy/Use Recycled Christmas Cards
The Christmas cards of families you know vaguely from your child’s kindergarten barbecue or your annoying co-worker who just has to include absolutely all of their photos from their trip to India – these cards can be recycled, if they are not proudly displayed on your fridge, covering your child’s straight A report card!
You yourself can also either create a Christmas card made out of recycled materials, or just chose to send it electronically. It would be a great help to everyone if you did this.
7. Donate Old Clothes, Toys, Etc.
Did you get a new wardrobe for Christmas? Or at least so many Christmas sweaters you could unravel them and have a Harry Potter house elf kindly knit you a bodysuit? Good news! You can donate your old clothes to thrift stores such as Goodwill, and let other people wear your dubious fashion choices of spring 2015.
8. Recycle Your Tree Once the Season Is Over
Most counties have a curbside pickup utility which means all you have to do is drag the behemoth tree you picked out with such glee a few weeks ago and painstakingly decorated and leave it on the curbside like the heartless wench you are before you have your morning coffee. Or you could lovingly drop your useless tree off at a tree recycling center, or cut the tree up until it fits in your yard waste disposal. The possibilities are endless and full of dirt.
These family-friendly tips will help reduce your holiday stress, educate your family about ways to help the environment, and will definitely place you on the top of Santa’s “nice” list! These are all easy ways to tweak your typical Christmas celebrations. It is important to enjoy the holidays, and even more important to remember to be environmentally sustainable while you’re at it!