With the holiday season upon us, eco-conscious folks look for ways to prepare their homes for an eco-friendly holiday. Wanting to reduce your carbon footprint is something that can be done all year around, not just during the warm weather seasons too. So, with a few small changes, you can make a difference and be a good steward of the environment.
LED lights are not only beautiful inside your home and outside of it, but they’ll help you save money and energy on holiday decor. This doesn’t just apply to the lights on your tree and around the front door, but your inside lights as well. So while it’s true that incandescent bulbs are cheaper upfront, it’s also true that over time you can reduce your energy expenses more by using LED lights.
If you want to save even more energy, buy some solar-powered LED lights instead. These lights store up light from the sun during the day and then brighten things up during the night.
Buying an artificial tree will eventually end up in the garbage, plus they never look very real. Surprisingly enough an eco-friendly tree option would be to use a real one. The reason for this is that if you buy a Christmas tree in a pot, then it can be planted in your yard. If you dig a hole in the ground when the ground is still soft before the holidays, later it can be planted in the hole after the holidays.
Buy a smaller tree rather than a larger one in a pot and keep in outside until it’s time to decorate it, then bring it inside. You will only be able to keep a live tree in your home for about a week and a half before it will need to be undecorated and taken outside. It will need to sit outside for about two weeks so that it goes back into dormancy before planting it. Then you just take it out of the pot and place it in the hole, cover it with dirt and mulch (don’t put mulch up to the base of the tree though) and then water the tree.
You don’t need to have new tree decorations each year either. You can make your own ornaments from cloth, paper, or create and bake ones from biodegradable dough and paint them. You can also see what your parents or grandparents might want to pass on. There isn’t anything more nostalgic than ornaments from your childhood hanging from your tree.
You could spend time with your children and string popcorn for to place on the tree to decorate it. When the Christmas season is over, then you can hang it outside for the birds to eat. Plus, bringing in pine boughs, pinecones, and even chestnuts to decorate your mantle or entrance way will carry the scent of nature inside.
If you do have children, another fun activity, that helps with decoration inspiration is going to see light displays in your community! Think about it this way – it can be a fun activity for the entire family, and if you’re not putting up as many lights in your home, your technically saving some energy with praising the community holiday displays. Often times must-see holiday lights can be seen at local parks, zoos, and even historical buildings.
Everyone rolls their eyes at the cost of wrapping paper. The bad thing is once the present is given, the paper is just ripped off and thrown away (unless it’s in gift bags and then they’re recycled for next year.) So, what about recycled brown bags that can be decorated, or the funny papers which can be used for wrapping paper? You could make a collage and use it to decorate an empty cardboard box also.
Candles give off a warm, welcoming glow, but they also emit benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, and soot when burning. But if you burn soy or beeswax candles, you can avoid the negative effect on the environment. Beeswax candles produce negative ions which help to clean your air too, plus they’re non-toxic when burning. Candles made from soybean oil produces little soot and no harmful toxins.
You can make a lovely centerpiece for your table instead of spending money on something bought which you’ll end up throwing away. Try putting some fresh pine in green florist foam in a basket or dish, and add some assorted ornaments and a bow. Or, place a soy or beeswax candle in a glass container, surround it with fresh greens and small red bows. You can create something as lovely as you could buy for hardly any cost at all.
You can be eco-friendly during the holidays and still have a lovely decorated home to enjoy.
Written by Peter Goldberg for EarthTalk.