One of the most busy times of the year, especially for families and businesses, is the holiday season. And as you prepare for togetherness and shopping, try to keep a green Christmas in mind. It’s environmentally sound and doesn’t really have to make a major impact on your season.
While many people around the world hope for a white Christmas, you can ensure your family has a green Christmas with these tips.
1. What Type of Tree to Buy
For decades now, people have argued about what type of Christmas tree to buy, and you may be surprised by the answer.
First, let’s examine our options, You have your natural Christmas trees and plastic variants. While that may be pretty obvious, where you buy your natural Christmas tree matters.
If you purchase the tree from an actual Christmas Tree farm, more trees are planted for next year, and that has an environmental benefit for everyone. However, if you decide to take an ax into a forest and cut down your own, that’s a big no-no.
This is because the tree is not replanted. On top of this, if left alone, that tree could survive for decades.
As for plastic trees, if you already have one use it. Since the majority of artificial Christmas Trees are made out of PVC, they are not recyclable. If you decide to get rid of it, donate it to a Thriftshop or sell it on Craigslist.
Otherwise, it will just end up in a landfill.
2. Don’t Flock Your Christmas Tree
If you’re not a Christmas decoration enthusiast, you might not know what the term flocking means. But I guarantee you’ve seen it before.
Christmas Tree flocking is when you add a snow effect to your tree. While this may sound harmless, the flocking substance is not “green.” In fact, the moment you flock your Christmas tree, you can not compost it.
The flocking substance is typically made up of paper, adhesive, and fire retardant. This essentially makes it useless as compost material.
Thus, you may want to simulate what a white Christmas looks like, but to have a green one, you need to avoid it entirely.
3. Use LED Lights
No Christmas Tree is complete without decorations, and lights tend to be the most popular.
While it may be a family tradition to use a specific set of lights that have been passed down for years, it isn’t very green in 2019. In reality, all of the light decorations on your tree (and possibly your house) should all have LED bulbs.
LEDs use less electricity than incandescent bulbs. In fact, they are approximately 90% more efficient.
However, this is not just for the environment, it is for your safety. Older Christmas lights get hot, really hot. If your tree is very dry and you have some tinsel nearby, you’re looking at a serious fire hazard.
4. Make Natural Ornaments
Of course, Christmas lights are not the only decoration on your tree. Did you know that you can turn just about anything into an ornament?
The majority of ornaments you purchase in stores are made up of either glass or plastic, and the latter is best avoided altogether. Instead, you can create your very own ornaments if you’re into DIY projects.
In fact, it’s a great way to spend time with your children. And, it can save you quite a bit of money.
For example, one of the simplest DIY decorations is creating a popcorn garland. This is when you take a string and a needle and essentially create popcorn decorations.
And don’t forget to eat all of the leftovers.
5. Use Compostable Gift Wrap
And of course, we have to cover the gifts that end up under the tree. If you buy gift wrap from a store, you should reconsider.
Traditional gift wrap is not recyclable and in many cases, if it glitters or has a unique feel to it, it is laced with metal or plastic. And while you may want those presents to shine or look as appealing as possible, it won’t help give you a green Christmas.
Luckily, there are plenty of other options available. There are multiple brands of gift wrap that are eco-friendly. One of the criticisms many people have is they are typically brown paper.
However, they look really good under a tree, and in most cases, you can decorate them to look even better.
6. Purchase Environmentally Friendly Gifts
Gift buying is an integral part of Christmas. However, you can make a huge difference by purchasing environmentally friendly gifts. This is a pretty vague term, though.
This means purchasing products that are made from recycled materials. For example, many toys are made from plastic. But with a bit of extra research, you can find toys made from recycled material or from companies that have a good track record.
Another approach to take is to buy gifts that come from the local area. Instead of a town having to ship a product from across the world, buying locally helps reduce any emissions from transportation.
And there’s a lot of cool gifts in local communities.
7. Make Your Own Christmas Cards
If you’re a fan of arts and crafts, then making your own Christmas cards to send out is a great choice. Cards for any celebration have quite an impact on the environment, Christmas is an especially brutal one.
And this is all because of the pure volume.
In fact, we use enough Christmas cards that if they were placed next to each other, they would cover the world’s circumference 500 times. Thus, sending out homemade cards can help cut the emissions that come from these card factories.
And it’s a fun holiday activity to do.
8. Reuse Outside Decorations
Every neighborhood has that one house that takes Christmas decorations a bit too seriously. And those houses are using a lot of electricity to keep those lights on all night for no one to view, or to annoy their neighbor.
While that is bad in itself, the worst part is trying to improve each year by adding more decorations or replacing old ones. However, the old decorations end up being thrown out in the process.
These decorations are typically made out of plastic that can be recycled. Thus, if you have your heart set on a new 20-foot Santa for your front yard, make sure to either recycle the old one or donate it so another family can use it.
Christmas Can Be Green
Many people like to go big for the holiday and every neighborhood has that one house with a thousand different decorations. However, even if you only make a few green choices, you are still helping.
It can certainly be more work to make some of these changes, but in the end, we only have one planet. We need to make the most of it.