Have a Merry, Eco Friendly Christmas
This year, I’m giving the planet a Christmas present. I’m making the holidays at our house go green. Here’s some of the ways I’m going to create an eco-friendly Christmas.
1. Replace energy draining incandescent lights with LED lights.
Christmas Tree decorated with LED Christmas lights
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the sparkling lights that illuminate the season, but by using LED lights, I’ll be using less electricity.
The U.S. Department of Energy has reported that LED lights use 90% less electricity and produce only 10% of the CO2 incandescent lights generate. You’ll find your favorite styles available for use both indoors and out. And here’s a bonus. They not only use less electricity, they burn cooler as well, reducing the danger of Christmas tree fires.
America has started embracing LED lights. This year the tree in Rockefeller Plaza is adorned with these energy wise bulbs, as is the tree on Capitol Hill. Just think, if every home in our country would use LED lights this holiday, we would save an astonishing $160 million dollars in energy costs this season alone.
2. DIY Christmas Decorations
Instead of buying more plastic, non-biodegradable decorations this year, why not add a natural flair to the décor and make your own? With just a little thought, you can come up with multiple ways to create pretty decorations that are eco-friendly.
Start by taking a walk in the woods or down a country road and picking up natural materials along the way. Pinecones, acorns, dried flowers and grasses can be turned into festive accessories. Of course, other natural items like seashells, feathers, twigs, seeds and spices can be incorporated into your designs and it’s fairly simple to make your own wreaths and garland using reusable wire forms.
Edible decorations are a neat touch as well. Gingerbread men on the tree, clove-studded oranges for candleholders and garlands of popcorn and cranberries bring in the old-fashioned flavors and scents of the holidays that revelers have enjoyed for centuries.
Gingerbread Christmas DecorationsThere are cone shaped herbal trees available as well. Rosemary is a particular favorite available in a Christmas tree shape. Add a pretty ribbon and a sprig of holly to dress up the pot and your little tree will not only bring visual satisfaction and a wonderful scent into the room, but can spice up meals throughout the new year. Just use your imagination and anything is possible.
DIY Cardboard Christmas Tree
3. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle.
DIY Christmas Tree made from recycled bottles.There’s lots of way to recycle items for holiday use. Use leftover greeting cards to create gift tags or decorations.
Bottle caps metamorphous into charming little picture frames. Paint them with nontoxic paints, glue family photos or pictures cut from greeting cards in the center and hang them from the tree. You can even frame your favorite cards to hang on the walls as artwork.
DIY Recycled Christmas DecorationsIf you’re going to send cards this season, buy recycled ones, or better yet, use e cards and save a tree. Recycled wrapping paper is available or you can use magazine pages, comics or plain paper you decorate yourself. Make the wrapping part of the gift and use a scarf or pretty hand towel for packaging.
There’s many ways we can recycle items during the holidays. There are always excess soda cases, gift boxes, wrapping paper, cans and bottles during this time of year. Provide recycling containers so your guests can help you in your effort to reduce your carbon footprint.
4. Sensible Holiday Scents.
Eco Friendly DIY Christmas Scents
If you close your eyes and think about the holidays past, you can almost smell the fragrances that are a part of those memories. This year, instead of buying expensive aerosol sprays or petroleum-based candles, I’m making scents naturally. Candlelight adds a romantic, festive touch to the holidays that you don’t want to forego, so choose environmentally friendly candles made from renewable sources like beeswax, soy or bayberry wax. These emit a much more natural carbon into the atmosphere than other type candles.
Eco Friendly Christmas Candles
I’m also a big fan of essential oils. Try using these natural oils in diffusers to spread a light mist of delightful aromas into the air. If you melt a little green candle wax and add a blend of essential oils to it, then dip pinecones into the mix, you have excellent aromatherapy fire starters. You can also use essential oils to refresh your potpourri. Do a little research and see how essential oils have therapeutic properties that used alone or as a blend, generate different effects. You can create exotic massage oils, natural soaps or room fresheners that make wonderful gifts, too.
Use essential oils to bring out the your Christmas scents.Of course, a real Christmas tree and pine garlands are environmentally sound ways to bring in the heady fragrance of the season and there’s nothing that makes a home smell as much like the holiday season as spicy goodies cooking in the kitchen.
5. Give Green.
Give Gree this ChristmasWhen you’re giving gifts this year, think green. There’s something green suitable for everyone on you’re list. Look for toys that don’t require batteries and made of nontoxic, sustainable materials. Young and old alike appreciate the gift of an experience, like a trip to the children’s museum or tickets to an upcoming concert. There are eco-friendly gadgets for your gadget lovers and clothing of natural fabrics for your fashionistas.
Handmade gifts are thoughtful and re-gifting is no longer a faux pois. Recycle gifts of family mementos or discover hidden treasures in antique stores or thrift shops. Houseplants are great gifts that filter the air and the gift of services, like a massage or housecleaning, is always welcome. The green choices are endless.
Homemade Christmas GiftsThis year, I want to give myself the present of a safer, healthier planet. If you look at the big environmental picture, it seems almost impossible to fix the problem. By each of taking little steps in our own lives to reduce our footprints, however, we can start making headway and giving back to the world that has given us so much…not just at the holidays, but all year round.