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A Green Christmas: How to Be Eco-Cosy for the Holidays

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Christmas Green is one of the traditional colours of the Christmas season, but the green we have in mind is the environmentally friendly kind.

Here are ten eco-friendly holiday tips to help you reduce your environmental footprint this holiday season:

Consider making your own wrapping paper, or go without!

Most mass-produced wrapping paper you find in stores is not recyclable because of the shiny coatings, foils and colours, and therefore ends up in landfill. Instead, here’s a great chance to get creative! Wrap presents with old maps, the comics section of a newspaper or children’s artwork. Or use a scarf, attractive dish towel, bandana or some other useful cloth item that is a gift in and of itself.

Buy energy-saving LED holiday lights.

These small light-emitting diodes use 80% less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, plus they’re cool to the touch. Look for the Energy Star seal for ones with the highest energy efficiency rating.

Limit lighting.

Turn Christmas trees on only when you’re in the room to enjoy them! Turn outside decorations off before you go to bed at night, or put them on a timer that will remember to do it for you. The same goes for your TV and other appliances. Switch everything off as opposed to leaving it on standby.

Send e-cards.

Replace snail mail cards and letters with e-cards and e-mails to save paper and mailing expenses. It will also reduce your carbon footprint since it eliminates the fuel used for transporting standard mail.

Give green gifts.

Consider giving eco-friendly or, better yet, homemade gifts to those on your shopping list!

Bought green gift ideas:

  • Gift certificates to health food stores or organic restaurants
  • Books on green living
  • Mass transit passes
  • Reusable coffee container or water bottle
  • Energy saving items for the home

Homemade green gift ideas:

  • Baked goods and other yummy food items
  • Paintings or photographs
  • Pottery and ceramics
  • Handmade ornaments
  • Homemade essential oils or beauty product

Purchase a green Christmas tree.

Visit a local Christmas tree farm and cut down your own tree. Not only is it a fun family activity, but it eliminates the transportation required for shipped trees. Try to find an organic tree farm that is pesticide free to reduce toxins in your home. For those who live in smaller spaces, another idea is to purchase a Norfolk island pine houseplant that you can keep all year round, or, why not decorate a rosemary bush? Your space will look great and smell even better!

Recycle your Christmas decorations.

After the holidays, be sure to recycle your Christmas tree and other natural decorations. While your tree won’t fit in the recycling bin with your newspapers and bottles, you can recycle your tree: many cities offer programs to turn your tree to mulch or wood chips.

Reduce your holiday travel, or offset it if you are travelling far.

If you or your loved ones are traveling more than 160 kilometres this holiday season, try to reduce air travel whenever possible and consider offsetting the fossil-fuel pollution generated by your trip, no matter how you travel.

Donate your time or money to an environmental cause.

Get into the holiday spirit by volunteering! Organizations and charities all over the country need your time and/or money to make a difference.

Spread the green Christmas cheer!

When you give your green gifts or send those e-cards, tell your loved ones why. If you are active on social media, share when you’ve wrapped those gifts in your own wrapping paper, to raise awareness of how easy and fun it is to have a green Christmas! Let’s celebrate the environment and the ways you are contributing to a green Christmas!