With Christmas and New Year arriving on our doors, we have already started to plan for our celebrations. It is not new that we are super excited for the grand celebration of the most awaited festival around the world. The Christmas trees, lights, decorations, gifts, and the dinner make a huge part of the festival.
But, what about the other side? There are some aspects which are really needed to be thought of. Have you ever managed to think about the waste produced during the festival and what impact is the waste making to our environment? The huge piles of the gifts and even larger piles of the wrapping paper, and the Christmas trees turn out to be nothing more than waste at the end of the festival. These wastes are making an adverse impact on our environment.
So, why not be a sincere human and take a step towards celebrating the festival in a greener way? Our small efforts can make a huge difference in making the environment healthy.
Here are some of the simple and easy ways to celebrate our festival with a minimum impact on our environment:
A Real Christmas tree
The Christmas trees end up generating a huge pile of waste. The trees are made of plastic, and we all know what the plastic is doing to our environment. Instead of going out in the market and spending an attractive amount on a Christmas tree, why not try making your own? Decorate your own real live potted tree for Christmas. The real tree with beautiful decoration will make your home livelier. Nurture your plant and plan to decorate the same plant for upcoming years.
Garden centers and nurseries also offer the rental Christmas trees. This can also be a good idea. They will even deliver and collect the tree before and after use. After you use the tree, the tree can still continue to grow in its natural environment adding benefits to the environment.
The Gift-Giving Round and the Gift
Well, we do really have a long to-give list of gifts during Christmas. Make the list short by mixing it with the fun. Simply, write down the name of the family members in separate slips, shuffle them and put them in a pot. Now, pick a cheat turn wise. The name in the slip will be the one you will provide a gift. See, your to-give list decreased to just one. Take time and think of a special gift for the one you have picked.
Buying a green gift will help a lot. Try thinking about getting locally made gifts. You can also consider gifting them a sapling. What could be a better idea than gifting a life to show you care and love? You can also choose a gift that is made from recycled materials. While doing this, you are not only supporting the local economy but also promoting the use of recyclable products that cause minimum impact in our environment.
Battery-free gifts are the blessings to the environment. The discarded batteries are one of the serious threats to the environment today. Even the rechargeable batteries find their way ultimately to the environment. Re-gifting also sounds perfect. This simply means, passing on a gift you receive but no longer use. The very thing might be of great use for another person. Re-gifting is a way to express love by sharing the gift that belongs to you with the person.
When it comes about gifting the children, make sure you will be promoting the theme of the Christmas: Peace on Earth. Make sure you are not promoting the violence through any means. There are many toys and games which can enhance children’s creativity by the means of fun and play. Books can also be a great choice for gifts.
The Christmas cards are the long tradition of the festival. We spend a large amount of money to buy a delightful, colorful and attractive greeting cards to wish Christmas for our friends and families. But, these cards are extremely wasteful. These cards have nowhere to go after people finish exchanging them. So, why not make the cards on our own. Handmade cards reflect the affection of the relationship far more than the store bought cards.
The artworks of children are such a wonderful idea. The beautiful paintings done by the children with the Christmas wish inscribed in them are enough to make anyone happy. These cards worth much more appreciations than those you buy from the stores.
Reuse and Recycle is the best way to be sustainable and going green. Every year 50 million Christmas trees are bought on America alone out of which 30 million go to the landfill. The cost of transporting these trees to the landfill lies in the other part.
The Christmas tree can be used for continuous years. If you are investing on an artificial Christmas tree, then make sure you are making it on a better quality tree. After the season is over, store the tree safely and then decorate it in the next year.
While unwrapping larger gifts, you can keep the wrapping papers. These papers can be used by cutting into smaller pieces in the future. The bows and ribbons are also easy to store and reuse.
Say NO to Wrapping Papers
Since Christmas comes with a lot of gifts, the gifts are not alone. According to The Recycler’s Handbook, 1990, half of the paper consumed in America is used to wrap and decorate the consumer products. In the US, the annual trash alone from the gift wrap and shopping bags crosses 4 million tons. Likewise, Canada produces 595,000 tons of waste from gift wraps and shopping bags. Similar is the case in other parts of the world.
The wrapping papers we generally use contain metal foils which are difficult to reuse. So, stop immediately buying the glossy and metallic foil wrapping paper. You can use reusable bags instead of these wrap papers or boxes. You can also beautifully add a note on the bag reminding them to use the bag for shopping in future.
Another idea can be wrapping the gift with a scarf or a fabric. Isn’t it cool that your wrapping is not only the wrap but an add-on to the gift?
Lower the Energy Consumption during the Festival
Everybody loves the decorated and well-lighted home at Christmas. The perfectly decorated house and the Christmas tree with the lights cheer up everyone. However, the lights consume a huge amount of energy making your electricity bill to grow up.
There are still some options that will lower electricity consumption. Make it simple and beautiful. The large cluster of lights is neither beautiful nor inspiring. So many lights are thrown away only because a single bulb is not working. So, do not rush in making a new buy. Take time to find and replace the bulb that is not working.Replace the bulb rather than spending on a whole new light strand.
You can look for LED powered lights which will consume relatively less amount of electricity. Make sure you turned off the lights during the day. The lights also need not to glow while you are sleeping. It will be even better if you set a timer to do all the remembering for you.
Solar powered lights are also great ideas. These solar light bulbs will utilize the natural perpetual source of energy. Using the solar lights can reduce the carbon footprints in a greater amount.
Check the Waste Food
Many people around the world go food less for real long time. So, wasting food is a very bad idea. So, only buy what you need. Try to make a list and get stuck to the same list, and avoid the extra purchasing. You can take a step to adopt the green and organic foods for the Christmas dinner. You can promote the locally available green and organic vegetables from the farmer’s market. You can also make good use of leftovers by serving them to the hungry and poor people. The food still left that cannot be used for leftovers can be composed or given to the animals.
When it comes about beverages, avoid individual beverages. You can consider making the eggnog, hot chocolate or iced tea at your home in large quantities. If you require a really large quantity of the dishes in the gathering, take out the utensils and cloth napkins you have for stock. Even though, these will require washing at the end of the day, still they are better than the disposables which can pollute the environment.
As we say, “no step is smaller”, these ideas can help to celebrate the festival in an environmentally friendly manner. Adapting these ideas will help build a better environment. After all, our celebration should not turn out to be a burden to the planet we live in.
Merry Eco-Friendly Christmas and New Year!