It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But unless it’s a Green Christmas or Hanukkah you’re planning, it’s also the most wasteful, consumer-driven and stressful time. But it doesn’t have to be! With approximately $75 billion spent during the holiday season for gifts and 20.8 million trees cut in the U.S. alone, the impact of this one holiday is immense.
Here are some ideas to help you keep it green:
- Less Really is More: Forego an excess of stuff that will end up in the yard sale come July!
- Decorate with Nature: Avoid plastic doodads and opt for wood, burlap or organic cotton. Bring in elements from the outdoors such as a wreath of pine boughs.
- Switch to LED Lighting: if your strands of lights are older than 10 years, it will be more efficient to replace them with newer, LED bulbs. They can also save you up to 90% or more on power costs and will last longer than traditional bulbs. You can take your old Christmas lights to Lowes in Mantua or Deptford. Each store has a recycling station, which is usually at the entrance where you can drop off broken lights or go to customer service. They accept them at any time of the year.
- Wrap gifts with recycled paper or fabric.
- Send forest-friendly or plantable Christmas cards: Recycle or compost your cards in January or turn them into decorations for next year.
- Invest in a reusable Advent calendar.
- Rethink your decorations: The best eco-friendly decorations are family heirlooms that emerge year after year, making them instantly sustainable.
- Think about your outfit: Resist the temptation to splash out on sequins (they’re made from PVC and there are no biodegradable substitutes). Opt for eco-friendly designs or try one of the many clothes-swapping apps.
- Use plant-based glitter for decorations: Eco Glitter Fun has biodegradable glitter that comes in glass bottles and packaging made from recycled cardboard and shredded newspaper.
- Ask yourself what’s truly important at this holiday time. Is it the gifts, excess food, decorations, and sparkly clothes? Or is it spending time with loved ones, reflecting on the year passed and the year ahead, and being grateful for what you have? Take one small step. You will be glad you did!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa!
Denise Pitchford, Environment Committee Member