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Dreaming of a green Christmas: 5 ways to make the holiday more sustainable

When you choose to be more environmentally conscious, it should develop beyond a mere trend; it should become a way of life. If you’re determined to have a greener Christmas this year, here are five tactics you should try.

gift wrapped

gift wrapped

Evergreen – even during the holidays

When you choose to be more environmentally conscious, it should develop beyond a mere trend; it should become a way of life. When the holiday season comes around, it can be tempting to fall back into the consumerism and overuse of resources that’s all too common during the season.

But it’s better to avoid those temptations and aim for a greener holiday season. Your wallet will thank you as profusely as the environment will. If you’re determined to have a greener Christmas this year, here are five tactics you should try.


1. Think sustainable gifts

Sustainable living is an extremely popular trend. More and more of your friends and family are likely adopting this way of living, and they’ll appreciate the same with their holiday gifts.

For many 21st century families, environmental awareness and sustainable living affected buying decisions as much as factors such as price and appearance,” according to a blog post outlining the evolution of home design over the last 100 years. “Hardwood, stone, tile, and bamboo replaced wall-to-wall carpets as the flooring of choice, and recycled materials turned up in countertops, furniture, and even art.”

It might not be practical for you to replace a cousin’s flooring material, but you can still consider some of the above materials for giving gifts that supplant man-made textiles. It’s a great way to please your friends and family while helping out the environment.

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2. DIY gifts

In addition, if you avoid large manufacturers over the holidays, that can be a solid way to continue reducing your carbon footprint. Major factories around the world dump billions of gallons of non-biodegradable waste into the environment every year. Instead of contributing further to that lamentable practice, you might create your own customized gifts. Take a look around your home for items that can be repurposed into a gift or something a little different.

3. Use fake decorations

A real tree smells and looks nice, but when millions of us insist on having one, that steadily eats up forest resources. Every year about 30 million live Christmas trees are sold in the United States, which literally cuts down the number of trees that exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen in the atmosphere.

There are plenty of artificial trees and scented candles that will furnish the look and aroma of a real tree without sacrificing the forest.

4. Invoke the “spirit” of the season

Christmas is a great time to participate in to the spirit of giving as well as connect with nature.

One way to embrace the spirit of giving is to participate in community service that helps to clean up the environment, donate to charities that promote goodwill and green values, and skip all the trimmings to demonstrate concern for your surroundings.

It can be a more economical and green-oriented holiday for you and your family, which is all to the good, since retailers are also beginning to cut back on discounts. Focusing more on the non-materialistic side of the holidays helps everyone to escape the competition in commerce and embrace what the holiday season really should mean for all of us.

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5. Cook at home

Cooking actually has a more sustainable impact on the holidays than you might believe. When you cook for yourself, it increases mindfulness for the environment: you recall where the bounty of the holidays comes from.

Home cooking also reduces the amount of waste generated by restaurants when they cook for you, in terms of the power they consume and the transportation you have to use to get there.

And of course, you save money. Eating out is common during the busy holiday-shopping season, but you can do your part to increase the trend of sustainability by staying home.

All it takes is a little more mindfulness during the holidays to improve your participating in greater sustainability and a more economical lifestyle.


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Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. When he's not consulting, glued to a headset, he's working on one of his many business projects. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.



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