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What Are the Best Tips for an Eco-Friendly Christmas?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

To enjoy an eco-friendly Christmas, make a list of all of the tasks to do and items to buy, but look at it in a new way. Brainstorm environmentally sound ways of accomplishing all of the things on your holiday list. Consider each subject or category on your list such as decorations, gifts and shopping and how they fit in with eco-friendly concepts.

For example, if you usually find yourself spending many different days shopping for holiday items, make fewer trips by planning to get what you need by location. You may also want to walk to local stores rather than driving or take public transit. Carpooling with neighbors for holiday shopping needs is another idea to prepare for an eco-friendly Christmas.

Recycled clothing from a local thrift shop is an eco-friendly gift.
Recycled clothing from a local thrift shop is an eco-friendly gift.

This year, try to buy locally grown foods for your holiday and other meals. Imported foods as well as those that have to be trucked in to your location are environmentally worse than items grown in your local area. Rather than buying a lot of clothes for the holidays, be adventurous during your eco-friendly Christmas preparation and see what great recycled clothing you can find at your local thrift shop.

Some Christmas cards are made with recycled paper.
Some Christmas cards are made with recycled paper.

When shopping, look for products made from recycled materials. Buy gift wrap products that your local recycling program accepts. Instead of using tape and ribbon, get in the eco-friendly Christmas spirit by using recycled holiday stickers and raffia and instead of gift tags, cut glossy light-colored holiday advertising pages into strips or patterns made by outlining the shape of a cookie cutter. Only use recycled gift wrap or bags. Many recycling programs accept non-foil gift bags and these can also be folded, saved and used again next Christmas.

If you normally give money to charities at Christmastime, consider adding a small donation to an environmental cause this year. You may be able to find Christmas cards designed on recycled paper that help support environmental groups. To save on paper, send e-mail cards for eco-friendly Christmas wishes. Buy nature-themed gifts this year and make sure the products are made from recycled materials.

For an eco-friendly Christmas tree option, consider getting a live tree from a managed forest in your area if this is available. Then, replant the potted tree in your yard or a community garden. Use only environmentally-friendly decorations on the tree. You could even skip the tree and create a design from fallen branches or form recycled art materials into a tree-shape. Making your own decorations from recycled household items can be a fun, creative way to celebrate Christmas in an environmentally "green" fashion.

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Discussion Comments


As far back as I can remember, lighting the Christmas tree has been a big part of the Christmas holiday in my family. I especially enjoyed seeing all the lights as a kid, and I have continued the tradition for my kids.

I always thought a tree without lights would be lacking. However, I attended a Christmas show at the local convention center and there were several trees that were beautifully decorated, and there was not a light to be found on them. For me, being eco friendly is in large part about seeing things from a different perspective.


@Sporkasia - You make a good point about Christmas lights not being eco friendly. I can remember years ago when there were only a couple of houses in the neighborhood that had any Christmas decorations other than the traditional tree in the house. Then someone decorated a tree outside and then someone else copied this, and so and so on.

Before you knew it there were lights all over people's yards and trees and hanging from the houses. Now there is an unofficial competition and everyone attempts to one-up everyone else in the neighborhood with Christmas decorations.

Our neighborhood is a popular destination for people who want to see the decorations and lights. Kids really seem to really like it all. However, I hate to think what the total electricity use is for all of us.


Stop with all of the lights already! If Christmas lights were outlawed just think about the amount of energy that would be saved and hopefully put to better use in other areas. Okay, I do not want to bring anyone down about their Christmas decorations. I like Christmas and decorating as much as the next person, but maybe we could all simply try cutting back a little.

If your electric bill doubles during the Christmas season then you have way too many lights and decorations adorning your house. Be eco friendly and considerate of your neighbors and tone it down a bit.

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    • Recycled clothing from a local thrift shop is an eco-friendly gift.
      By: PhotoSG
      Recycled clothing from a local thrift shop is an eco-friendly gift.
    • Some Christmas cards are made with recycled paper.
      By: cook_inspire
      Some Christmas cards are made with recycled paper.