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6 Tips for Going Green for the Holidays

From lights to all that paper, there are ways to do Earth better

By Jasmine Dyoco

Decking your halls is part of the magic of the holidays. Lights, ornaments and mistletoe are just a few of the decorations that might adorn your home during the season. But if you’ll be going all out this year, it’s important to know that they can take a toll on the environment.

However, if you’re eco-minded and don’t want to skip the fun of putting up a great holiday display in and around your home, we have six tips:

Use Timers to Control Lighting

Many people enjoy driving slowly through neighborhoods where residents go the extra mile and create breathtaking displays of light for the holiday season. If you like to show off your lighting skills, remember there’s no need to have these decorations on all night. To cut down on electricity consumption, use a timer to set your lights to go on and off at specific times.

LED Lights Are a Better Choice

Speaking of lights, opt for LEDs if you’re replacing lights this year. LEDs use about 80 to 90 percent less wattage than comparable incandescent lights, so you’ll cut down on electricity consumption substantially.

LEDs are more expensive than incandescents, but they also last an estimated 10 years or more — meaning you’ll replace them less often, and the upfront cost will pay off over time.

If you want to find out how much energy your lights are using or to determine how many lights you can safely put on one circuit, use one of these helpful Christmas light energy calculators.

Recycle Old Sweaters as Stockings

Old sweaters — of the ugly Christmas sweater variety — make for fabulous stockings. You can purchase stockings made from recycled sweaters from various vendors (try Etsy), or if you’re crafty with a needle and thread, you can make your own.

Make Your Own Wreaths


Wreaths are another item you can easily make yourself if you have a knack for crafts. Even if you’re not the most creative or artistic person, there are plenty of online tutorials and examples illustrating how to make holiday wreaths using a few basic supplies.

Go Natural for Other Décor

A sprig of pine, some fruit and nuts can make a breathtaking table centerpiece, and these items are both affordable and multi-purpose. Dried citrus, cinnamon sticks, and pine cones give your tree and other decorations an authentic, organic feel, and they create a fantastic aroma in your home.

If you’re sad that your home won’t be filled with the scent of pine if you opt for an artificial Christmas tree, this is your solution. And, at the end of the season, you won’t have to use up any storage space on these items or worry that they’ll contribute to landfill waste when you dispose of them.

Reuse and Recycle

Keep things like old wrapping paper, tissue paper and holiday greeting cards. The greeting cards can be cut up and reused as gift tags; tissue paper can be reused for next year’s gifts and other items such as holiday wrapping paper can be recycled in creative ways to make decorations. To reduce paper waste, invest in holiday dishware or use your fine china for holiday meals instead of using paper plates.

There are tons of creative ways to reuse old materials to make new ornaments and décor, especially with children. If you don’t have children or grandchildren, ask around to find a preschool or elementary school that would happily accept your gently used materials for classroom art projects and activities.

Think outside the box and tap into your creative juices to find innovative uses for what you would have otherwise considered trash. When you do, you’ll be well on your way to an eco-friendly holiday season.

Jasmine Dyoco is a fan of crossword puzzles, gardening, books on tape, learning (anything!) and fencing. She truly enjoys the work she does with Educator Labs and hopes you’ll stop by the site to learn more! Read More
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