Mary Ellen Chase, an American educator, teacher, scholar, and novelist, reminds us, “Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.”
Christmas should be a time of magic, wonder, and connection. As we get caught up in “stuff” associated with the holidays, however, the enchantment seems to disappear as we spend approximately $75 billion on gifts, send 1.9 billion cards, and cut 20.8 million Christmas trees in the U.S. alone! In short, the impact of this one holiday on our planet is immense. There are many ways to reduce the harm done to the earth, while enjoying the holiday.
Importance of Green Christmas Lights
This time of year we naturally use more energy because of the extra traveling that we do and many of the common holiday festivities, like decorating with lights. None-the-less with regards to decorating there are ways we can reduce our impact.
Power down on the sparkle of your outdoor light display. It is good for both the planet and your bank balance. This can be accomplished by reducing the size of outdoor lighting displays, as well as using mini lights. Turn tree lights and outdoor house decorative lighting off at bedtime. A timer will help.
Transition to LED (Light Emitting Diodes) light strings. Energy Star energy efficient LED outdoor holiday lights require 1/50 th of the electricity of conventional lights and can last 20 to 30 years. Some are even solar powered!
Green Christmas Ornaments and Decorating Ideas
In addition to green Christmas lights, think of ways to avoid adding to the holiday trash heap when you are selecting (or replacing) the decorations you use. Ten suggestions you may choose to adopt:
- Decorate with fresh boughs that are composted after enjoying the added holiday cheer.
- Switch from petroleum-based candles to ones made of beeswax, soy or other vegetable wax.
- Select flameless LED candles. (They are safer.)
- Make a homemade wreath with recycled materials such as reusing scraps of old fabric.
- Select (and save) a reusable cedar pine centerpiece made from PE or polyethylene.
- Make your own decorations.
- Buy second-hand or select Fair Trade decorations to avoid contributing to the Christmas trash mountain.
- Use what nature provides to accent tablescapes, such as pine cones and tree trimmings.
- Purge and Swap. Find other décor-hungry folks and offer to trade for the season.
- Get crafty. Use leftover materials to make your decorations. This is great fun with kids.
Green Christmas Holiday Card Ideas
Cut down on cards. (The average American household will send and receive 28 Christmas cards each year. That is approximately 3.2 BILLION cards!) We look forward to receiving holiday greetings, but most cards (and their envelopes) are discarded and end up in the landfill every year. Fortunately there are options, such as these eleven:
- Create and send a song … this is easy to do with the available technology.
- Use postcards instead of the traditional bi-fold card in an envelope.
- Send tree-free paper cards.
- Make own holiday greetings from recycled paper.
- Use old cards to create new D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) cards.
- Send cards to St. Jude’s Ranch, a nonprofit home for youths, if you do not have the time to “remake” the cards yourself. Visit stjudesranch.org/shop/recycled-card-program/.
- Leverage technology by creating digital “handmade” letters.
- Create and send a Mobile Postcard.
- Develop and send a video slideshow.
- Buy recycled cards.
- Send eCards.
Green Christmas Gifts
Norman Vincent Peale said, “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” To retain this spirit, it is equally important to select and give green gifts, such as the Fluffy Microfiber Duster by Cleans Green™ (Available from Green Cleaning Products LLC or Amazon at www.BestDuster.com.) For more ideas, check out Green Christmas Gifts for Mom and Grandma (http://greencleaningproductsllc.com/green-christmas-gifts-mom-grandma-cleans-green-shares/) for more ideas.
Looking for more great ideas to ensure your Christmas holidays are as green as they can be? Green Cleaning Products LLC, owner of the Cleans Green™ brand, published the ‘Tis the Season to Green Your Christmas: Why (and How) to Have a Joyous Eco Holiday Season eBook. This is where you will find more than 80 ideas to celebrate while you are saving the planet.