While some of you some of you have already completed everything on your Christmas and holiday to-do lists (kudos to all you A-types), many of us still have a fully unchecked list that includes everything from decorating to gift buying. But whether you're sitting back watching the holiday madness around you while leisurely sipping your spiked egg nog, or you're gearing up for a marathon week of "getting s&%t done", we've got the scoop on how to green your holidays (for this year or next) with these five pro tips.
1) Buy a real tree
Like me, you've probably assumed that getting a fake tree is the more eco-friendly option and felt a little bit guilty buying a real tree just for the sake of that nostalgic pine scent. But, like me, you would be wrong. I learned this year that fake trees use an incredible amount of energy on both the manufacturing and shipping sides and are made of toxic plastics that will sit in landfill once they are discarded after years of use deteriorate their appearance. On the other hand, it's actually helpful to the environment to buy a real tree. Not only do they get planted each year and contribute to keeping our air clean, but after they're discarded the trees are turned into mulch to be used for gardening in the spring. If you want to go one step further, companies like Sapling Life are spearheading a new trend: Renting your Christmas tree. They will deliver the potted tree to your door, you use it over the holidays, and then return it for them to take care of until the following year.
2) Give the gift of experiences
For so long there's been a taboo against giving gift cards, as if they don't require as much thought and effort, but I say Bah Humbug to that! Rather than giving a plastic toy or gadget that will be forgotten in a few months, instead give your loved ones the gift of an experience and the long-lasting memories that will come with it. Whether that's a trip to the movies, a one-year membership to a local museum or play gym for the kids, or something really decadent like a swanky massage or theater tickets, you can't go wrong. This way you can also do your shopping from the comfort of home.
3) Switch to LED lights
If you haven't already, it's time to make the switch to LED lights. They last up to 100,000 hours indoors and use up 95% less energy than traditional bulbs so there's really no argument for the old strands you've been replacing the dead bulbs on for the last five years. On that note, another nice thing about LED lights is that if one bulb doesn't work, it doesn't mean the entire strand won't light up (so you can get away with hiding the dead bulb at the back of the tree). If you're not into that modern blue-hue they give off, not to worry, they come in warm white so you can still have that old-school vibe. (Eartheasy.com)
4) Use eco-friendly wrapping
Gift bags are a great alternative to wrapping paper, especially if you buy recycled paper bags (but you already knew that!). They hide the shape of the gift you're giving for that extra element of surprise and you can reuse them year after year. My best friend and I have a bag that's gone back and forth between us for over a decade and even though it's beaten up, it's all the more special because of it. If you really prefer traditional wrapping, choose paper with recycled content and avoid metallic and foil wrapping due to the heavy metals used to produce them. Wrappily is just one of many online companies out there now producing high-quality, eco-friendly wrapping paper and packaging solutions.
5) Send paperless cards
Of course there's nothing like sending and receiving that handwritten Christmas card to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. But this year, consider sending out your holiday greetings online and encouraging others to do the same for you. Paperless Post has a huge variety of templates and designs, many of which you can send for free (and save the handwritten notes for those extra-special people on your list).
Now that you've procrastinated long enough to read this blog, time to get on that to-do list so that you can spend time with family and friends and eat until your pants don't fit (i.e., what really matters).
Keep It Green!
From The GoJava Team