The holidays are a time for giving, so why not give back to Mother Nature this year by going green? Going green doesn’t mean you have to give up turkey and Christmas trees, but you can find eco-friendly alternatives to many holiday essentials that may just save you some green.
Use Recyclable Gift Bags
If you want to keep your gifts a surprise and avoid the mountain-high pile of wrapping paper afterward, then opt for recyclable gift bags or a use the same bag every year. You can also wrap gifts in old newspapers, using the funnies section for kids. All in all, no one will really care what the outside of the gift looks like, just what’s inside.
Buy a Real Tree
Believe it or not, buying a real Christmas tree is more eco-friendly than buying an artificial one made with plastic, lead and other processed materials. It’s preferable that you buy one from a tree farm where only purchased trees get cut, and either replant the tree or recycle it (NOT throw it away) after the holidays are over.
Use LED Lights
LED lights offer a more eco-friendly and energy efficient option to regular lights, because they use only four watts per strand, whereas regular lights use about 34 watts per strand. LED lights can also last about 20 years or 100,000 hours, which means you won’t be buying new lights for a long time.
Limit Light Time
Christmas lights use a lot of energy and tend to stay on longer than necessary. Adjusting your use of Christmas lights to, say, dusk till bed time and turning them off during the day and when you’re not home will be much more efficient and save you money in the end. If you think you might forget, get a timer and let it do the clockwork.
Send Gift Cards
If you are sending gifts, opt for gift cards instead of big packages. You’ll save time, stress and money not driving around to find and send big gifts. Also, it takes less fossil fuels to send gift cards than transporting boxes that contain packing peanuts, plastic and other items that will usually end up in the trash.
Cook Organic Foods
Go green this holiday season by cooking with organic and locally-grown foods to support local farmers. You’ll feel better knowing you served your guests food that was free of pesticides and chemicals, and supported a more eco-friendly way of farming.
Send Ecards and Evites
This year, skip the paper cards and invitations and go with the instant electronic versions. Ecards and Evites are just as decorative and meaningful to receive and, best of all, no fossil fuels are used to send them.
Keep it Close
Celebrate the holidays at your place or close to home to save money on trip expenses and avoid using gasoline or burning fossil fuels to travel across the country. It’s safer and more convenient to celebrate at home, because holiday travel can be treacherous during the cold months when so many people are on the road.
Give Green Gifts
Green presents are the gifts that keep giving all year round. They can be as simple as battery chargers and rechargeable batteries and homemade toys, or as high-tech as E-readers. Consider the longevity of the product and how green it actually is.
Reuse Old Decorations
Holiday decorations are something you can repeat year after year, and they rarely need to be replaced. For example, ornaments are timeless, nostalgic pieces that deserve to be reused every holiday season. If you have the urge to get a new wreath or star for the top of the tree, be crafty and make your own.
And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.
Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI
Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900