Eco Living During the Holidays

While trying to be eco friendly is important throughout the year, it can be harder to remember during the holiday season. There are so many excuses to buy stuff you don’t need, and cut corners to make things easier, whether or not it’s a good choice for the environment.

Being green isn’t at all impossible around the holidays, however. You can make choices that are good for the environment while keeping to your eco living ideals.

Use Natural Decor

hollyWhat’s available to you in terms of natural decor? This can vary quite a bit from person to person, so take a look around. Pine trees can have a lovely scent, a nice alternative to artificial trees, especially if you can deal with the limitations of bringing in a live tree.

Pine cones look nice, and certain kinds of produce, such as gourds, can sit out through the season as decorations rather than food.

Use Natural Scents

The holiday season is full of wonderful odors, especially if you love to bake. Take advantage of natural scents when you’d like your home to smell more like the holidays.

A simple way to start is to throw some herbs in simmering water. The heat releases their scent all around the house. Just pick your favorites.

You can also time your baking for when you want a particular smell, at least some of the time. Who doesn’t like to smell cookies or an apple pie baking? If you don’t need the oven for other things, think about making something delicious to give your home a scent no candle can beat.

Reuse Gift Wrap & Bags

My supply of used gift bags is ridiculous. I can find a bag for just about any gift I’m likely to give. I’m pretty sure some have made it to my home more than once, as I’m not the only one in the family to reuse gift bags.

Reusing gift wrap is trickier, as it doesn’t always survive in a smooth form. Take a look at what remains, and consider crafts that can be done with it. At the very least, kids love anything they can cut up into interesting shapes and tiny pieces.

Rethink Gift Wrap

Of course, you don’t have to use traditional gift wrap or bags. The wrap itself could be a part of the present. I wrote about a variety of eco friendly gift wrap ideas a few years ago.

Trade Decorations

You’re tired of some of your old decorations. Someone else is tired of theirs. Can you arrange a trade with them? Be careful about moving around any sentimental items, but often there are other decorations that you’ll be content to part with, either forever or for a time.

Simplify Gift Giving

This works especially well with extended family, but kids can be willing to get in on it too. Cut back on the number of people you buy gifts for, whether by instituting a name drawing or by simply agreeing that you don’t need to exchange gifts anymore. Try setting a price limit too. This can really ease the stress around the holidays.

Make Recycling Easy

When you have family and friends over, make it easy for them to recycle as appropriate. Just think about the wine and beer bottles, beer and soda cans and so forth that get used. They’re easy to recycle, so make sure it happens.