Christmas is the perfect time of year to start thinking green. Get tips and ideas to make your holiday less wasteful and more environmentally friendly.
When it comes to lighting, less is more. LED (light-emitting diode) lights use 80% to 90% less power than conventional Christmas lights. This means you use less energy and save more money. LED lights also last longer than traditional lights and are cool to the touch — making them safer for children. Solar options and lighted decorations that use rechargeable batteries are great too.
Save more energy and purchase a timer for your indoor and outdoor lights. Program the timer to automatically turn lights on when it gets dark and turn lights off once you go to bed. Leaving the lights on all night adds up to hours of wasted energy.
Buying a live tree is the most obvious and simple way to be environmentally conscious during the holidays. When selecting your live tree, keep the following tips in mind:
Add to your eclectic tree ornaments by making some of your own this year. Homemade ornaments are a fun activity for kids and a good way to utilize odds and ends around the house. Here are some useful ideas:
Use natural or nontoxic cleaners and detergents to prepare for guests or clean up with after the big feast. Less-toxic cleaners create less air pollution and are healthier options all around. Defrost your freezer too so it works more efficiently and is ready to hold delicious leftovers.
Update old appliances, like dishwashers, ovens, refrigerators, washers and dryers with newer, energy-efficient models. These appliances have larger capacities than older models and use less energy and water to get the job done. Don't have any energy-efficient appliances? Perhaps Santa will leave one for you under the Christmas tree – better be on your best behavior.
While you're out there spreading holiday cheer, why not spread a little green awareness too? Friends and family will appreciate gifts with a purpose and an opportunity to save money and reduce waste. Also, if you’re surprised with a new appliance or electronic gift this year, check to see if the old item can be recycled before dragging it to the curb. Below are some energy-efficient gift ideas:
You don't have to spend a fortune on wrapping paper to make a statement under the tree. Reuse everyday items found around the house, like newspaper, burlap bags and leftover wallpaper scraps. Packing materials from large appliances, like TVs and refrigerators, can be broken down and used to ship gifts. Be creative and reuse old paint chips as gift tags and labels on boxes.
Candles are a great addition to your holiday décor. Choose flameless LED candles that can be used year after year and are safer for children and pets. If you prefer traditional candles, choose candles that are natural and vegetable-based or made of beeswax or soy. These types of candles are biodegradable, smoke-free and eco-friendly.