Green christmas

Image courtesy of JD Hancock on Flickr.

If you’re looking to do some good this holiday season why not have a green Christmas by making a few simple substitutions? There are lots of arenas where you can make greener choices such as with your Christmas tree, lights, decorations, food, and gifts. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to be a friend to the earth, or to give great gifts. In fact, a lot of these tips can save you money. Whether you want to go green with a bang or want to make a few minor adjustments to your holiday routine, here are some ways to have a green Christmas this year:

The Tree: To go real or not to go real, that is the question. There has been some debate over which is a better for the environment. By taking into consideration greenhouse gas emissions, resources, and the effect on public health, a environmental consulting firm in Montreal found that in order for a fake tree to be greener than buying a fresh-cut real tree, it would have to be reused for 20 years.  The production of an artificial tree results in more annual carbon emissions than using a real tree. Also, fake trees are made with polyvinyl chloride, which is a form of nonrenewable, petroleum-derived plastic. In the production of polyvinyl chloride, several carcinogens are created, which pollute neighborhoods near production sites. Given these drawbacks, many people claim cutting down a real tree is better than buying an artificial tree.

Carpool: Doing some holiday shopping? Grab some shopping buddies and reduce carbon emissions.

Recycle: Look for recycled gift wrap and cards. If you really want to go green, send an e-card to family and friends. And if you’re feeling crafty, make your own gift boxes out of cereal boxes. Make sure you recycle you gift wrap materials from Christmas morning. Save bags, bows, and ribbon for next year.

LED lights: Use LED Christmas lights this year. LED lights are up to 90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, allowing you to have a twinkling home, for less. LED lights are also safer because they do not produce heat, and they last much longer than incandescent bulbs.

The feast: Buy local and organic. Reduce burning of fossil fuels by supporting your local farmers and businesses.

Use non-disposable: Think less trash. By using real plates and cloth napkins for holiday gatherings, you can reduce the amount of trash your household produces.

Gifts: Make homemade gifts or give gifts that produce less waste. Give gift cards and tickets to events like concerts, plays, etc.

Remember, a little can go a long way; so being able to check off at least one of these things off this list can help.