Five Steps to a Greener, Gentler Christmas

downloadThis just in from the North Pole: Jolly Ole Saint Nick’s going green. That’s right: Father Christmas is reducing his carbon footprint, and so should you. As you probably already know, Christmas is a notoriously wasteful time year, contributing greatly to swollen landfills and polluted skies. According to one source, 1.9 billion Christmas cards are sent each year, and 20.8 million trees are cut down. In Australia alone, the holiday is responsible for the emitting of 2,285,000 tons of greenhouse gas. Santa’s doing his part; what can we do?






1. Support locally-owned businesses

Ditch the malls. Boycott Amazon. Find local purveyors of your favorite goods and patronize them. Not only will this reduce your carbon footprint, it’ll boost your local economy. What’s more: small, independently-owned storeowners are more likely treat their employees fairly. And that’s what Christmas is all about.

2. Cut down on the lights

They’re bright and pretty, but they sure use an awful lot of electricity, 50% of which comes from coal-burning power plants. If you must use lights, why not try LEDs? They use 90 percent less energy and are even prettier than conventional lights. (In my own humble opinion….)

3.  Say no to disposable dishes and cutlery

Yes, doing dishes is anathema to the very idea of holiday, but do you really have to use paper plates? The little effort it takes to load the dishwasher is well worth the rewarding feeling you’ll experience having not used disposable dishware. And you’ll save money to boot!

4. Consider purchasing a living Christmas tree

Unless you plan on using a single artificial tree over the span of your life, it’s more environmentally sustainable to get a living tree. Living trees can be composted after use, or used in other beneficial ways. And they smell really really good.

5. Make your own decorations!

Because, why wouldn’t you? It’s fun, it’s creative, and it allows you to have complete, aesthetic control. Plus, if you use items from nature (pine cones, berries, evergreen sprigs, apples), it’s ecologically friendly. You can also make edible ornaments—popcorn, cranberry strings, et cetera—which can be snacked on while creating! What can be better than that?