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Have a Green Christmas

Indoor Christmas Decorations

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.

Christmas Lights

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.

Christmas Trees and Decorations

Poinsetta plant

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:

  • Buy potted — This way your tree can be replanted. Potted trees are also better if you have a smaller living space and don't have room for a great big tree.
  • Buy organic — Choose a tree grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
  • Recycle your tree — Chop the tree into mulch to be used in the garden and around flower beds come spring.
  • Make a birdhouse — Set the tree outside, and fill it with bird feed for local wildlife to enjoy.

Shop Christmas Trees and Accessories

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:

  • Make your own ornaments using special objects found around the house.
  • Use pinecones and other elements from your garden, such as apples, oranges and berries, to decorate your tree, mantle and wreaths.
  • Design wreaths from fresh bay leaves and rosemary. The herbs can be used for cooking after the season has passed and work as natural room fresheners.
  • Decorate with Christmas plants, such as amaryllis and poinsettias.
  • Use fallen branches from your tree to decorate your table or mantle.

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Green Cleaning for Holiday Guests

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.

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Gifts and Eco-friendly Wrapping

Gift tags

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. Lowe’s offers a free haul away service for most major appliances. 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.

Donate or regift unwanted presents to avoid filling up landfills and adding to pollution.


Decorative candles

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.

Dispose of candles made before October 2003 (when lead wicks were officially banned). Older candles made with lead wicks pollute the air and emit toxic particles. Avoid paraffin candles as well. They're made of petroleum residues that are harmful to both you and the environment.