LiveGreen: Green tips to spruce up the holidays

by Anne Rivas, UNMC LiveGreen | December 10, 2013

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Last week we talked about ways to consume less during the holidays. But what about decorating? What about the tree? What about the lights and the smells that make the holidays special?

Tree alternatives

  • Decorate a tree in your yard for the birds: hang popcorn and cranberry garlands, suet, cookies, dried fruit, and pine cones rolled in peanut butter and seeds.
  • Decorate a potted plant, like a Norfolk Island pine, or hang ornaments on your ficus.
  • There is an on-going debate about the environmental cost of natural vs. artificial trees. Click here to find out more.
  • Find decorations at thrift stores.

Cards: Reduce, reuse, recycle

  • Choose cards with recycled content and avoid cards with plastic, shiny or gold foil coatings -- these can't be recycled.
  • Cut off the fronts of cards you received last year, write a message on the back and re-send.
  • Send e-cards. For a wider selection, try these.

Holiday scents

  • Instead of burning chemically-scented candles, try soy or beeswax candles with essential oils.
  • Simmer some cinnamon on the stove -- or bake gingerbread. (Yum!)

Holiday lights

Light displays cheer us up, especially on gray winter days. If lighting your home is part of your tradition, remember:

  • Smaller displays use less energy.
  • As your old light strings burn out, replace them with LED lights that use less electricity.
  • Recycle your old lights for a credit you can use to buy new LED lights.
  • Unplug your lights during the day and when you go to bed.

Wrapping

While wrapping the thrifted treasures for your loved ones:

  • Reuse gift wrap, ribbons, bows, boxes, and gift bags from last year.
  • Give a double gift -- put the gift in a reusable tote bag or wrap it in a scarf.

Shopping (because let's face it, we're still going to shop)

  • Shop locally.
  • Consolidate shopping trips to save gas, or shop online.
  • BYOB -- Bring your own bag to carry gifts, the way you do when buying groceries

Check out the LiveGreen website for more suggestions.

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