Green Decorating Tips

Who can resist? The holiday season is a time to savor good food, give gifts and celebrate with loved ones… but it’s also a time of mass consumption, excess packaging and well, lots of waste. As we begin to prepare for the upcoming holiday season, consider giving a couple of gifts back to Mother Nature. She gives us so much throughout the year, why not return the gesture?

There are many ways to simplify and make your life green during this festive season and beyond. You can start by considering these five easy ways (and more!) to not tax the environment at this time of year:

Light the way
Believe it or not, there was a time before Christmas lights – when families would use candles to light up their Christmas trees. But when that made Smokey quite a busy bear, we turned to electricity. However, when it comes to safety issues when lighting trees and houses, try using LED holiday lights. According to one U.S. Department of Energy study, if everyone replaced their conventional holiday light strings with LEDs, at least two billion kilowatt-hours of electricity would be saved in just one month! LED uses 90% less energy than regular Christmas lights, which will save you money on your utility bill and it will reduce your impact on the environment.

Of course, there’s nothing more efficient or romantic than lighting up the house with candles during the holiday season. Use soy or beeswax candles instead of paraffin, which are made with fossil fuels and usually come with a lead wick.

Waste not, want not
Waste is big come holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, Americans throw away a million extra tons of garbage each week, including holiday wrapping and packaging, according to Robert Lilienfeld, the co-author of Use Less Stuff: Environmental Solutions for Who We Really Are. This holiday, why not dish out compost-able plates and utensils during your holiday festivities? Use bio-gradable bags for your trash and bust out the eco-friendly green cleaning products after the guests have gone.

Wrap out of the box
Meanwhile re-consider your wrap tactics… gift wrap has gotten so expensive – it can add as much as $5 to the cost of a present! Fortunately, it only takes a bit of creativity to avoid this expense entirely. Instead of spending all that added-up money on paper, be eco-friendly about it by using reusable fabrics, recycled wrapping paper or make your own wrapping paper by using magazines. Invest in an old fashioned holiday stamp and ink pad to decorate plain white paper (recyclable) or mailing wrap to make your own signature papers.

Everything old is new again
There are no rules that say gifts, decorations or wrapping paper has to be bought new. Scour thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets and other second-hand sources for items at prices well below retail. Thrift store shopping is like a scavenger hunt. When you find holiday decorations, it’s just as fun and rewarding.

Truth is, you don’t need to buy a gift to give a gift. Have you seen Morgan Spurlock’s What Would Jesus Buy? Support the Church of Stop Shopping and make a gift instead. Homemade gifts are every bit as worthy, sometimes even more so because you put your creativity and hands into it. For cards or invitations, choose alternatives to virgin tree fiber paper such as recycled paper or hemp paper. Scour the Internet – there are a lot of cool things out there like staple-free staplers and Himalayan salt crystal lamps.

Do you hear what I hear?
Timber! For many, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a live, fragrant pine tree in the house. Today, nearly all of the trees sold at seasonal Christmas-tree lots are grown on tree farms. So forests aren’t hurt by choosing a cut tree. Recycling fresh trees after Christmas however, can make a huge difference in reducing holiday waste. Instead of taking up space in the landfill, trees can be ground into wood chips, which can be used to mulch gardens or parks or to prevent erosion at a local watershed. The National Christmas Tree Association, an organization which represents Christmas tree growers, has teamed up with Scottsdale, Arizona-based conservation group Earth 911 to point consumers in the right direction with their trees. Check it out.

Tis the season to be frugal. There are a lot of little things you can do to make your holiday green. In addition to green decorating, try these tips as well:

  • Make plenty of food and fill up your freezer with the leftovers – a full freezer requires less energy than a partially filled one
  • Serve organic fair trade coffee to your guests
  • Carpool to events and parties
  • Recycle! And plan to store used wrapping paper neatly for re-use next year
  • Shop at the local farmer’s market for your holiday cooking needs, and bring your own bags
  • Choose less consumption and more giving this holiday season… do a community service project
  • Use recycled objects to make crafts and ornaments with kids

Most of all, have a very merry green holiday!

‘Tis the season to be merry. Talk to a psychic and find out what the holidays have in store for you. Call 1.800.573.4830 or click here now.

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