The holidays are a wonderful time, but their wake can also cause a heavy strain on Mother Earth. Just think—the amount of wrapping paper for gifts, the destruction of pine trees, the added electricity from holiday lights—our habits had in joy and celebration have greater impact than we properly realize, though it doesn’t have to be this way. With a little creativity and preparation, you can still celebrate the holidays without creating such a negative impact on the environment.
Purchase a Live Tree to Plant Later
My family displays a large, fake, reusable tree every year for Christmas. This, in essence, is a wonderful option for those not wanting to cut down a traditional pine tree for the holidays. If you, however, love the smell or look of a real one, the following idea is for you: this year, purchase a living pine tree and place it in a large pot with water near a window. It will work as a normal Christmas tree you can decorate and share gifts around, but at the end of the season, it can be planted outside, bringing new life to your yard.
A wreath made with fresh greenery.
Similar to faux trees, there are many options on the market for fake pine wreathes. In the name of recycling, however, crafty DIYers can make this common decoration out of things found around the house and yard. For example, still have veggies and plants from your fall garden? Why not weave them into a wreath to be hung on your front door? Pinecones are everywhere this time of year, so a fun idea is to glue them to a circular element for festive decoration. Even rolled paper, if secured correctly, can give a fun and artsy look to this holiday favorite.
Decorate Without Lights
Love adding festive cheer to the outside of your home, but want to avoid the cost and hassle of traditional exterior decorations? Why not make decorations you can use to adorn the trees you already have? Make bows out of fabric and tie them to branches. Make a paper garland with recycled gift bags. Any decorations you make will be a great replacement for hanging lights.
Switch to LED Lights
If you truly wish to decorate your home with lights this season, LED is the way to go. They come in many colors and blink patterns and, most importantly, last significantly longer than their old-school counterparts.
Have a Battery-Free Holiday
A large component of the holiday season is the exchanging of gifts with loved ones. However, many items, especially toys, are plastic and require batteries. The issue is that once the item looses popularity and gets tossed away, it will find a new home in a landfill. In the name of eco-friendliness, a great idea is to swear off gifts that contain batteries and toxic parts that won’t biodegrade.
Wrapping Christmas gifts.
Wrapped gifts are fun to open and add to the beauty of the tree on Christmas morning, but store-bought box wrappings can be excessive and bad for the planet. Therefore, as a final tip, why not purchase reusable fabric to wrap your gives in? Or, go old-school and use newspaper or the funny pages. Any type of paper can be repurposed to wrap gifts—you don’t have to head to the store to purchase a brand new product.
This article was written as a guest post and originally appeared on Doityourself.com (December. 2016)