But don't worry, you don't have to choose between enjoying this time of year and becoming an environmental stick in the mud. There are plenty of simple steps that you and your family can take if you are dreaming of a "green" holiday season. To have your gingerbread cookie and eat it too, check out the 12 tips below.
1: Cut down on your shopping. As a general rule
the more you buy and consume the more of the planet's limited
resources your using up. Try to buy local produce to cut the travel
miles your holiday essentials have clocked up.
2: Travel smart. When it's time to go shopping
for the perfect gift or visit relatives, try to take public
transportation or carpool for trips. Every time you hop in your car
or even worse a plane, you're producing greenhouse gases which
global warming. Even better? Shop online. You can get your
loved ones gift memberships to environmental organizations, like
3: Pay for the present, not the packaging. Put
some thought into the gifts you are purchasing. Avoid products that
are over-packaged or made from toxic PVC plastic or
trees like mahogany.
4: Pull the plug on dirty presents. Electronics
are popular gifts so rather than just consider the cost, check out
companies are doing more than others to make cleaner products.
This years presents shouldn't be
next years toxic waste.
5: Cut down on wrapping paper. Why not have fun
making your own wrapping paper out of recycled paper? With a potato
stamp and some water paint you can make unique wrapping paper. Cut
up last years cards to make perfect recycled gift tags. Make sure
your waste wrapping paper goes in the recycling.
6: Be tree friendly. If a tree is traditionally
part of your celebrations, a living, potted one is your best option
because it can be reused next year. If you must use a cut tree, ask
your local officials about tree recycling or if you can chip the
tree to use as mulch in your garden.
7: Less is more. If you decorate your home with
lights, think about how much energy they use. Don't forget to turn
off the lights before you go to bed or go out, and use LED bulbs to
8: Go au natural. Replace those plastic,
over-priced holiday decorations, with natural reuseable decorations
like whitewashed branches and pine cones. They can put you in the
holiday spirit just as easily as a huge, inflatable snowman
9: Cut down on your use of paper. If you send
holiday cards, look for a recycled content or better yet, send an
10: Break out the china. When it comes time to
party down, do so with real dishes - not disposables. Ask your
friends to borrow some of their plates and glasses or rent them.
Cleanup will be a little tougher, but it's worth it. If you must
use disposable, look for
11: Hang lots of mistletoe. This won't really
help the environment, but it's good advice nonetheless ;)
12: Get started on those New Year's
resolutions! If you've followed these 12 tips for the
holiday season why not be good to the climate for the whole of 2006
by following our 12 tips for individual action on global