“I’m dreaming of a Green Christmas…”
I’m guessing that my tone-deaf adaptation of “White Christmas” has Irving Berlin rolling in his grave.
Along with spending time with friends and family, the holiday season is known as a time of conspicuous consumption (to include cookies and eggnog), so let’s take a few minutes to embrace some green decorating tips so that we can minimize our impact while maintaining the holiday bling.
1) Paper or plastic? How about, well, neither. The age-old dilemma is whether to buy a real tree, being natural and all, or to buy a fake tree, albeit using plastic and other non-renewables, but saving a tree. Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s a third (even a fourth, fifth, sixth…102nd) option. When considering green alternatives, we often find ourselves broadening our horizons, so why not expand out realm of thinking when it comes to what constitutes a Christmas tree?
A simple search of that modern wonder known as Pinterest illustrates just how imaginative, and frankly FABULOUS, an alternative Christmas tree can be. Try using recycled materials, such as pallets to make a cut out Christmas tree or cardboard that is cut, painted and backlit. You can also try some fishing line and ornaments to make an invisible tree or stacking objects like wreaths or books to form the traditional tree shape, and adorn to taste. As I mentioned, you’ll find a lot of great ideas on Pinterest, as well as crafting sites throughout the web. Just search for “alternative Christmas tree ideas,” and you’ll have hours of ideas to consider.
If you still have a soft spot for those pretty, party hat shaped bundles of green Christmas joy, you can still have the object of your desire while going green: buy a potted evergreen and plant it when the holidays are over. No yard, or nowhere to plant it? No problem! Contact local conservation groups for ideas on where to donate your trees.
2) Now that we’ve talked about trees, let’s consider how you can light them in an energy efficient way. In green circles, we’re always talking about swapping out incandescent lights for more environmentally conscious alternatives, but I’m guessing you’re not going to be attracted to the idea of replacing your traditional incandescent holiday string lights for bulky (and mercury infused) CFL bulbs. The modern alternative to the string lights of generations past are LED holiday lights. These lights are crisp, energy efficient, and are not plagued with the same troubles of those pesky lights of yesteryear (they still tangle, folks). Switch over and enjoy some truly festive green!
3) Lastly, locally sourced means more than just where your tomato was grown. Cut your carbon footprint and help your local economy at the same time by visiting local vendors for handmade ornaments and holiday decorations (not to mention gifts and some truly inspired holiday cakes, pies, and confections). Some great picks include holiday craft fairs, school sales, and local co-ops. Don’t forget to visit farmers markets in the winter months, since those that remain open typically offer a wide variety of foods, gifts, and ornaments during the holiday season. Also keep an eye out for brick-and-mortar shops that make items in house or that source their decorations from local artisans.
There are many ways to employ green decoration tips while enjoying a bright and festive holiday season. By exploring alternatives to traditional holiday decorations, you’ll not only find new ways to remain festive during the holiday season, but you’ll also be giving the gift of a cleaner world to your loved ones in the process.
LED Christmas Lights image courtesy of mccun934.