The winter holiday season, associated with bedazzled homes and celebratory times, is all too often associated with excessive waste as well. The aftermath of the celebrations frequently involves loads of crumpled paper and dying trees - hardly the epilogue for an eco-minded celebration.
Holiday decorating and celebrating does not have to be synonymous with waste, however. Here, we offer you 6 ideas for taking steps toward a greener home during the holiday season this year.
1. Choose a green lighting scheme.
When the time comes to replace those endless strings of holiday lights, opt to replace them with LED string lights. LED lights use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Invest in a programmable timer for both Christmas tree lights and an outdoor one for your neighborhood display. Choose natural candles made from soy or other vegetable waxes as opposed to petoleum-based paraffin.
2. Make your own holiday cards.
The best cards are ones that take some effort to pull together. With a bit of forethought, you can have a stack of paper already collected throughout the months preceding the holidays that could be perfect for assembling into cards. Images from glossy magazines, children’s art, and even tissue paper can be pieced together into a personalized card that is a masterpiece! For those of us with no talent for crafting, there are always electronic cards that generate zero waste.
3. Opt for a living tree this year.
You can give yourself a gift that keeps on giving by avoiding the Christmas tradition of harvesting a tree then discarding it on the curb a month later. Choose instead to decorate or purchase a living tree. For a small table top tree, you can buy a carefully pruned rosemary tree. Some local Christmas tree farms even allow you to choose your own living Christmas trees. Or, choose a favorite houseplant, such as a Norfolk Island Pine, to decorate and nurture all year round. All of these plants will go on to contribute to fresher air throughout their lifespan.
4. Reuse or make your own gift wrap.
One of the most wasteful traditions at the holidays is the use of purchased gift wrap. There are so many creative alternatives to purchasing holiday gift wrap. For starters, collect all gift bags and boxes after exchanging presents, store them in a container and reuse them next year. If your reuse supply is dwindling, consider wrapping gifts in spare fabric, old maps, newspapers, shoe boxes, jars and cans or even old calendars. It’s almost a new year anyway!
5. Make an upcycled wreath.
Rather than purchasing a wreath, choose to make a beautiful upcycled wreath from most any material that you have an abundance of. This article from Inhabitat highlights how most any material can be arranged, with the power of symmetry and color, into a fun and festive door decoration. Kids will love this project!
6. Find or make your ugly Christmas sweaters.
Whatever you do, don’t buy an ugly Christmas sweater new! With all of the energy that it takes to make a sweater and ship it (likely from far away), buying a new ugly sweater makes no sense at all. Walk to your nearest thrift shop. You are almost certain to find a plethora of hideous Christmas sweaters to choose from to rock at your next holiday party. Or better yet, make one by attaching any leftover ornaments, bells and tinsel you can find...the more the merrier!
For information on real estate in Asheville, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.