According to Newsweek, every year between Thanksgiving and New Years, household trash increases by 25 percent. Christmas is "Scrooging" the environment every year... so how can you enjoy the holidays without feeling guilty about hurting the planet?
Don't worry. You don't have to give up on Christmas just yet.
There are many ways you can have yourself a merry little Christmas without hurting the environment. In fact, you may even find that you and your loved ones have even more fun decorating with sustainable materials over traditional Christmas decor.
Here are some fun tips and tricks for decorating this holiday season while still keeping your home eco-friendly.
Decorate with Sustainable Materials
Every year it can be a challenge trying to tip-toe through all the fun Christmas traditions without feeling guilty for damaging the environment. Thankfully, there are a variety of sustainable materials you can use to create a festive atmosphere at home this year.
One of the best ways you can contribute to a greener Christmas is by making your own decorations. Rather than spending money on plastic and metal decorations, let your creativity shine.
RESET suggests baking gingerbread biscuits, poking a hole in the top with a skewer, and hanging the on the tree with ribbon. Not only will you have fun making them, but you'll have a nice snack to help with the post-Christmas blues while you're cleaning up after the holidays.
Another nifty way to decorate using sustainable materials is to upcycle your old toilet paper rolls into a variety of decorations. You can transform your TP into mini reindeer, snowflakes, or Christmas carolers. So start saving those TP rolls!
If you're a fan of the outdoors, an eco-friendly way to make your home nice and cozy this Christmas is by making a real wreath. You know... like they used to in the olden days.
Rather than buying a plastic wreath, craft one using foliage like branches, leaves, and pinecones. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you're also sure to get some compliments, too.
Green Gift Wrapping
According to Stanford University, "If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields."
There are a ton of reusable gift wrapping options in every home. You can use anything from newspapers to magazines to your kiddo's old homework.
Another option is to explore Furoshiki, a Japanese cloth wrapping technique growing in popularity. Furoshiki is crafty and eco-friendly (and is sure to make anyone jealous who isn't getting a gift from you this year).
Get a "Living" Christmas Tree
According to the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), Americans throw out "15 million used Christmas trees" every year. Instead of chopping down a tree just to throw it out a month later, pick up a "living" Christmas tree.
Living Christmas trees are better for the planet than plastic trees. Most fake trees are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is harmful for the environment and takes up a lot of space in landfills once you do toss it out.
Inviting a living tree into your home may seem strange at first. But we think celebrating a dead one is even weirder.
Living Christmas trees come in all sorts. You can...
- Choose a potted Christmas tree. Keep it inside for 2 weeks then, after the holidays, plant it in your yard.
- Pick up a Norfolk Island pine. They're great for apartments or smaller spaces as they're only about knee-high. You can even keep it inside year-round.
- Rent one! The easiest option is to use a Christmas tree rental company. They will drop off a perfectly sized tree, pick it up, and keep it alive once the holidays are over.
If you do decide to use a traditional tree for Christmas, be sure to recycle it properly after the holidays. Check with local wildlife shelters, which often accept old Christmas trees to enhance injured creatures' habitats. Local recycling centers or dumps may have a special area for foliage, too.
Be a Good Grinch... Unplug the Lights
America is using more energy during Christmas than some countries use in an entire year.
The Center for Global Development estimates the US uses 4.48 billion kilowatt-hours during Christmas. Meanwhile, Laos, Nepal, Senegal, Uganda, and Malawi all use under 4.24 billion kilowatt-hours per year.
Thankfully, there are many ways to reduce your electric footprint over the holidays. One way is to trade your electric lights in for the original Christmas light: candles.
Candles are an environmentally friendly alternative to typical Christmas lights. While we don't recommend hanging them from trees (yikes!), placing them around your home safely makes the atmosphere feel cozy with their warm, festive glow.
Buy pure soy candles over paraffin candles for a longer, non-toxic burn. If you opt for tealights, find ones that don't have the aluminum casing. Instead, put them carefully into a reusable jar and pop the jar into the freezer when it's time to remove any excess wax easily.
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas by Going Green
While most people are dreaming of a white Christmas this year, we're dreaming of a green one. Christmas doesn't have to be associated with waste anymore. For every "normal" decor choice, there's a better, greener alternative.
By making a conscious effort to use sustainable materials for decor instead of easy throw-aways, you'll be sure to keep your name off Santa's naughty list.
So light your candles. Hop in your Christmas onesie. Grab a gingerbread biscuit... and cozy up with your family beside your living Christmas tree abounding in toilet paper reindeer.
Have a few green Christmas decor tricks up your sleeve we didn't cover? Share your crafty ideas in the comment section below!