How to Have an Amazing Green Christmas

Christmas is a very special time of the year. You feel more charitable and the world seems brighter. Suddenly, the snow isn’t a nuisance, it’s a gift. Most families that celebrate Christmas have unique traditions that have been passed down through the years. If you celebrate Christmas, then you probably remember what your family did on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My family reads the story of Jesus’ birth and opens one present on Christmas Eve. I value that tradition. There are other traditions that surround Christmas. Like, giving and receiving gifts. Also, decorating your house for the holiday. Each of these help to make the holiday special. However, there’s a lot of waste accompanying these traditions. This year, I’m going to teach you how you can have a green Christmas. You can help the planet to celebrate, too!

The Impact Christmas Has on the Environment

We hear all about the spirit of Christmas. How we should be charitable and loving. How the true meaning of Christmas is giving and not receiving. I agree with all of the clichés that Hallmark movies use as story lines. Unfortunately, there’s a down side to Christmas. I know, I didn’t want to believe it either. Many of our Christmas traditions are wasteful. Basically, most things that surround Christmas have an impact on the environment.

Christmas Dinner

Everyone’s Christmas dinners, combined, has the same carbon footprint as driving 6,000 miles. A lot of the food we eat on Christmas is thrown out. Or, we use tons of aluminum foil to cover the food the keep it fresh. It’s difficult to recycle aluminum. The ovens and stoves that are running constantly on Christmas are producing gases. Those gases are being released into the air and contributing to the pollution all around. Food is more wasted during this holiday than any other time of the year. However, food isn’t the only tradition that has an impact on the environment.

Wrapping Paper and Gifts

We throw away tons of wrapping paper during this time. Think about it. We wrap dozens of gifts each year. Then, within minutes they’re all unwrapped on Christmas day. If you have children, then there’s probably no hope that you can salvage the wrapping paper. All of that paper is thrown away. Tossed out like yesterday’s news. Fortunately, you can recycle wrapping paper. However, most people don’t think to. Also, cards are often thrown away, instead of recycled. Another downside to the gifts are the batteries that come with it. It’s no secret that batteries are one of the many enemies to the environment. The batteries used in the toys you buy have a negative impact on the environment. Luckily, you can also recycle your batteries! However, like wrapping paper, most people don’t.

Decorations

Christmas lights produce a huge carbon footprint. Many decorations aren’t any better because they’re mass produced. That, alone, contributes large amounts of greenhouse gases. Also, there’s a long standing debate surrounding Christmas trees. Is it better to buy a real tree or an artificial tree? Truthfully, both have their downsides. Making the artificial trees produces a lot of greenhouse gases and they’re not biodegradable. However, real trees are biodegradable, but, removing trees from the ground contributes to deforestation. Deforestation is a huge problem in the world. Also, the gases emitted to transport both types of Christmas trees aren’t healthy for the environment. Regardless, decorating your house for Christmas might be more costly than you thought.

green Christmas, Christmas lights, church, trees

A Green Christmas Dinner

With every problem, there is bound to be a solution. Yes, a lot of food goes to waste during Christmas. However, there is a way to help. First, one of the main reasons that we waste so much food is that we make too much of it. I know that it’s tricky to determine how much food you need to make to feed everyone. It can be a very overwhelming task. One thing you can do it ask someone from each family how much they eat, regularly. We tend to eat more at Christmas time than we would normally. Therefore, this would merely be a place to start. Once you’ve figured out how much each family usually eats, you can plan from there. Also, if you do make too much, then send each family home with leftovers. Send the food in a reusable container to produce less waste.

Green Christmas Gift Wrapping

There are some really unique ways that you can wrapping your gifts and help the environment. First, you can recycle any and all wrapping paper that you use. You can either send it to be recycled, or reuse it for next year. I know that it may seem difficult to reuse wrapping paper that your children have destroyed. But, recycling plants will take anything you can give them. Next, you can wrap your gifts in recycled paper. Or, you can make a gift bag out of recycled paper. It’s easier than you might think. Also, there are a lot of alternatives to wrapping paper that you can use.

Wrap Gifts Using Recycled Paper

You can use many different kinds of recycled paper to wrap your gifts. You can use:

  • Sheet music
  • Maps
  • Note pads
  • Newspaper (I know it’s clichély tacky, however the planet is worth it!)
  • Etc.

It’s simple to use recycled paper to wrap your gifts. Basically, you wrap the gifts in the same way that you would using wrapping paper. If the paper isn’t big enough, then you can use multiple pieces. For some gifts, you may need to double up on your paper. Otherwise, the paper might rip. If you’re struggling to wrap gifts using recycled paper, then maybe you can make a gift bag.

Make Gift Bags Out of Recycled Paper

Truthfully, it can be tricky to make a gift bag out of recycled paper for the first time. There are many tutorials that help you through the process. You can use so many different types of paper to make gift bags. You can use:

  • Newspaper
  • Calendars
  • Sheet music
  • Notebooks
  • Maps
  • Scratch paper
  • Etc.

All of those papers would be wasted and, possibly, thrown away. You can turn “junk” into beautiful gift bags for any occasion. But, especially Christmas.

Wrapping Paper Alternatives

There are so many different types of wrapping paper alternatives that you can use. You can use:

  • Cloth
  • Clay Pots
  • Reusable gift bags
  • Etc.

The main reason that wrapping paper isn’t “green” is because it’s usually a one-time use item. These alternatives are all reusable. They aren’t made out of paper, which means that they don’t have as large of an impact on the environment that paper does. Also, they’re clever and creative. Whoever you give the gift to will think you’re a Christmas genius.  

Green Christmas Decorations- Christmas Lights

It’s not Christmas unless there are Christmas lights. Most people that celebrate Christmas would agree! I love driving around town looking at the lights outside of people’s houses. Unfortunately, Christmas lights have a high carbon footprint. Luckily, there’s a way to help the planet and keep Christmas lights as a tradition! First, use LED lights. Typically, they use 80% less energy than regular lights. Second, restrict how long the lights are lit. One of the main reasons that Christmas lights have such a high carbon foot print is because they are lit, constantly. That’s not good for the environment. So, set them on a timer and have them lit for a maximum of six hours. This will significantly decrease their carbon footprint. Lastly, you can decrease how many lights you put up. If there aren’t as many lights, then there isn’t as high of a carbon footprint.    

Green Christmas Decorations- DIY

You can make your own decorations out of household items. Also, you can make them out of recycled materials. The possibilities are endless if you’re making your own Christmas decorations.

Bottle Cap Snowmen

This is an easy craft! You will need a few materials:

  • At least 3 bottle caps
  • Hot glue
  • Ribbon
  • Paint

First, you should glue all 3 bottle caps to one another so that they look like a snowman’s body. Next, paint buttons and other accessories to the middle bottle cap. Then, on the top bottle cap, paint a face. Lastly, glue a ribbon to the top of the snowman so that it can hang on the tree.

CD Ornaments

If you’re like me, then you have random stuff lying around. For example, I have about 50 disc covers in a drawer. I just needed one, but it came in a set of 50. If you have extra CD’s lying around, then this will be a great DIY for you. Basically, you cut CD’s into various shapes. You can cut them into a Christmas tree or a snowflake. Anything your heart desires. Then, glue ribbon or string to the top of the CD so that it can hang from a Christmas tree. There are plenty of Christmas decorations that you can make that are easy and adorable!

Conclusion

In conclusion, it’s possible to have a green Christmas. You can reduce the food you waste and make your own decorations. Also, you can use recycled paper to wrap gifts. Or, you can use alternatives to wrapping paper. There are plenty of ways that you can contribute to making your Christmas a green Christmas. You can give back to the planet in the same way you give back to others. Have a very Merry Christmas and, remember, there’s a reason green is a Christmas color!

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Bailey Longhurst
 

I am amazed every day by the beauty that this world provides for us and think it is important to preserve it! Taking care of ourselves and our earth is crucial and I want to help people discover new ways to do both. Publishing for Green and Growing is a unique way that I can get my message across, and I hope you all enjoy what we write about!

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