Whether you live in a spacious luxury condo in the city or a modest country home, Christmas and the holiday season tend to be full of conspicuous consumption, from oversized presents under the tree to lavish feasts with enough food to fill a whole country. However, for those of us with a penchant for sustainability, cutting down on some of the holiday season’s over-the-top traditions is a top priority–maintaining a greener household and leaving a lower carbon footprint each year in the process. So, how do you get started? These easy tips will help you make a painless transition to an eco-friendly Christmas:
Send out digital Christmas cards
Instead of sending out paper cards this year, opt for a digital version instead — you’ll be making a commitment to a greener planet in the process. Not only does a digital holiday card save on paper and ink, it also means that fuel won’t be used to ship your cards across the globe, lowering their carbon footprint (and yours) along the way.
Recycle wrapping paper
Instead of ditching that pile of paper from last year (or, even worse, burning it), save it for your next holiday celebration. You’ll save money in and keep from seeing all that pretty paper end up in the trash.
Buy without packaging
While you’re Christmas shopping this year, bring your own bags and you’ll be saving the environment with every gift you buy. If you happen to be ordering your gifts online, try to bundle orders as much as possible to limit the amount of extra fuel used to ship your items, or, if you’re ordering from online retailers like Amazon, opt for frustration-free packaging when possible — this often means they’ll leave out any extra boxes, plastic wrap, or twist ties that you’d just throw away.
Choose a local Christmas tree
Rather than buying a tree that’s chopped hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from your home, then schlepped across the country using tons of fuel and expelling toxic emissions along the way, opt for a local tree this year. Not only does buying a tree that grew close to home support your local economy, it also means a lower carbon footprint. Don’t think that using a tinsel tree will have the same effect: while they are reusable, they’re often made using toxic chemicals and plastics that are harmful for the environment.
Do a white elephant exchange
What should you do with all those presents you weren’t exactly thrilled with from last year? Instead of tossing them in the trash, do a white elephant exchange with your friends; you’ll have money on gifts and keep countless items from ending up in your local landfill.
You don’t have to give up your favorite holiday traditions just because you’re eager to have an eco-friendly holiday. With a few changes to your existing holiday routine, this Christmas won’t just be white — it’ll be green, too.
What are your favorite tips for a more eco-friendly Christmas?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.
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