THE HOLIDAY SEASON DOESN’T NEED TO BE A BURDEN ON OUR PLANET
Here we are at a time when so many of us are on the verge of decorating our home for the holidays. I think this blog idea stems from the fact that all of us are affected by our economy and inflation. We are all trying to find ways to save money when possible and make ends meet. So, with a little imagination and effort, we can reduce the environmental impact of the holiday this year and at the same time reduce our money spent during this time.
Here are a few thoughts as to what we can do to limit waste and be more Earth-friendly with the holidays:
USE A LIVE TREE
Living trees are recyclable after use. Christmas tree farms stay in business by continuously planting new trees every year. These trees serve to help clean our oxygen that we breath. We need to continue to support their existence with buying living trees every year for the holidays. Live trees are recyclable. After use, they can be grinded into mulch and use around our plants. Another idea is to lay out our spent Christmas tree in our landscape and let it serve as a habitat for our birds and other native animals.
REDUCE LIGHTING AND USE LED LIGHTS
Reduce the use of electricity. I know that a couple of years ago my house went from having an 8’ Christmas tree down to having a 6/7’ tree. This smaller tree looks more lit with all the lights because using the same number of strains of lights. And, yes, using LED lights can help reduce the cost of electricity.
GIVE SUSTAINABLE AND ECO-FRIENDLY GIFTS THIS YEAR
Pick a gift that lasts, such as houseplants. Most houseplants are considered “clean air machines” as they get rid of toxins in the air that we breathe. You can find a houseplant, a decorative pot, and give as a gift.
GIVE GIFTS THAT ARE HOME MADE
Baked goods, sewing, photographs, etc. The possibilities are endless.
USE ECO-FRIENDLY GIFT WRAPPING
Wrapping can be recycled, though not all gift wraps are recyclable. Help our environment with buying wrapping paper that is recyclable.
MAKE NATURAL DECORATIONS
Think about adding some natural pine cones as decorations on the tree. And, you can do some clipping of evergreens, such as boxwood, nandina, magnolia and use on the tree or with wreaths.
Starting this weekend we are doing a kids activity of painting Christmas tree trunks. These painted tree trunks can be used as natural ornaments on the tree.
MAKE HAND-MADE ORNAMENTS
As a kid I would help string popcorn, make colorful paper chains that would go on our Christmas tree. When I was in first grade I made a Christmas ornament using a Ball jar ring and lid. It has been hanging on our Christmas tree every year. I am very proud to say that this will be the 66th year on the tree. What goes around comes around. Maybe it is time to think about decorating our tree with handmade ornaments again.
Use email to replace traditional Christmas cards with mailing expenses. It seems that this may be the trend. I say this because just a decade ago my wife and I would get so many holiday cards that we would hang them around a door frame for display. Now, the last few years we get a handful of cards and that is it. Thinking about this trend, I think it is good to use technology to send our greetings. By send e-cards and messages we are reducing the use of paper and we are saving money by not buying cards and stamps.
WE ALL CAN HELP
I know this blog may rub people the wrong way. At the same time I think it’s time to think “outside the box” when it comes to what we can do during the holidays to help to be more eco-friendly. But, think about all the waste each and every one of us create during this time of year—more so than any other time of the year. It is so evident when you see everyone’s trash cans filled with extra bags of trash.