Sustainability During the Holiday Season

Katie LaPotin,, December 9, 2011

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is almost upon us. While we’re busy spending all of our free time hitting the shops to get the best deals on presents, writing out all of those cards to family and friends, and trimming the tree we often forget that our holiday cheer may be harmful to Mother Nature in the long run. After all, what happens to all those trees on December 26th?

Did you know, for example, that 73 million new Christmas trees will be planted this year? Or that recycled trees have been used to build sand and soil erosion barriers? There are many ways to make your holidays more sustainable, including recycling old Christmas cards to make gifts or using LED lights on timers to illuminate your house.

Some of my personal favorites include:

  • Tea staining old newspapers and using them to wrap gifts instead of traditional wrapping paper. Add twine from your garage and it’ll have the look and feel of gifts from yesteryear.
  • Don’t write on the tags of the gift bags you use. That way your recipients can recycle the bag and use it for next year’s presents. And if you use bags that don’t have Christmas decorations on them – such as single-color metallic bags – they can be reused for virtually any event throughout the year.
  • If you’re worried about the impact that cutting down trees has on the environment year after year invest in a fake, pre-lit tree. Not only are they easier to set up in most cases but it’ll mean one less tree needs to be cut down ever year.
  • Sometimes the best gifts are those that come from the heart. Give your loved ones CD mixes, scrapbooks, or other homemade gifts using supplies you already have at home. Added bonus: you can save a pretty penny while you’re at it.

So don’t forget to add Mother Nature to your holiday gift list this year. Celebrate the joy and festivities of the holiday season in a sustainable manner!


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