Green Wednesday: Going Green for the Holidays

From on December 03, 2008 in Green Remodeling

Here are 5 tips to help you celebrate in sustainable fashion:

Solar Christmas Lights

Solar christmas lightsPower your Christmas tree and decorate your home with solar Christmas lights. No more worries about dangling cords and electrical outlets. Traditional Christmas lights can use over 100 watts per string. Why not let the sun power all those twinkling lights for free? You can find a variety of bulb colors and string lights and you don’t even have to remember to turn them on at night; when the sun goes down your lights automatically turn on.

Living Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree FarmJust say no to the annual tradition of tree killing. Cutting down 25 million natural Christmas trees each year is not environmentally friendly. An acre of living Christmas trees produces the daily oxygen for 18 people. Artificial trees are usually made with PVC and other plastics that do not biodegrade. In many cases they contain a toxic amount of lead (enough to require a warning label.)

Just say yes to living Christmas trees and celebrate the holidays with hope in your heart and a clear conscience that you are doing your part to make our planet a better place to live and breathe. You have some options here. You can plant the tree in your own yard after the holidays or donate your tree to be planted elsewhere. The Original Christmas Tree Company, in Portland, Oregon, rents Christmas trees. They charge about the same price you’d pay at your local hardware store parking lot, only these trees don’t dry up and die after Christmas.

Check to see if there’s a Christmas tree rental company in your area by contacting your local nursery or search google under the header “live Christmas trees.” Another idea is to call your schools, parks, golf courses, or city parks department before you buy your living tree. Tell them you’d like to donate your tree to them to transplant at their site, then ask them what type of tree they’d prefer (to match their current landscape): spruce, cedar, fir, pine, sequoia, etc.

Homemade wrapping paper

homemade wrapping paperYou can’t recycle most wrapping paper that you find in stores, and it ends up in our landfills. Get creative! Wrap presents with newspaper or old maps. Have your kids create artwork on plain white recyclable paper. Save all bows and ribbons for next year’s use. Something I did a few years back is still the topic of conversation around the holidays. I shopped at flea markets and fabric stores for remnants of velvet, silk, and satin. I rolled up gifts inside the fabric and tied a big ribbon around the top. My sister took everyone’s “wrapping paper” fabric and made pillows for everyone the following Christmas – talk about recycling!

Greener gift giving

rechargeable batteriesAvoid giving toys or tools that run on batteries, or add rechargeable batteries and a charger to the gift. Give consumable gifts like candles, teas, chocolates, organic soaps. Start a savings account for a child. Cook for your friends; invite friends over for a warm, home-cooked meal as a gift. Buy local from crafts fairs and Farmers Markets; this not only supports the locals it also cuts down on car trips to crowded malls. I love to exfoliate and so do my friends, yet a good body scrub can be pricey. So, this year I’m going to make my own body scrub to give as gifts. I found this cool recipe online that you may want to make for your friends: http://www.treehuggingfamily.com/homemade-sugar-body-scrub/

He’s checking his list, he’s checking it twice…..

checklistStart a new annual tradition; teach your kids the valuable tools of energy conservation. Put together a home energy-saving checklist. Here’s a great checklist from the Sierra Club: http://www.sierraclub.org/coolhome/mrgreenchecklist.pdf

Wishing you a very merry green Christmas and happy New Year!