|What a perfect time of the year to add the environment to your gift giving list and implement simple holiday habit changes. Enjoy this handy guide to "green" gift giving and decorating:
- Send digital or e-cards instead of paper holiday greeting cards. This will save on stamps too. But if you prefer physical cards, opt for cards made with post-consumer recycled content.
- Use LED holiday lights and candles -- they use less energy and last longer. And choose rechargeable batteries instead of single-use alkaline batteries.
- Decorate a plant or tree that you can plant outside or use indoors year-round, instead of an artificial or fresh cut tree.
- Use a reusable white tablecloth or runner as the snow for your holiday village set-up.
- Wrap gifts in kraft paper and make or buy reusable cloth gift bags -- avoid foil, glossy, or metallic materials. Take a look in your yard to find natural items to top off your gift - fallen evergreen leaves, twigs.
- Give classic toys such as blocks, crayons (art supplies), and stuffed animals over novelty toys.
- Choose reusable dinnerware and utensils for holiday (and everyday) meals. Avoid disposable plates, napkins, cups, and silverware when you can.
- Gather items you already have or which are reusable for your holiday centerpieces. Example -- surround a battery -operated candle with holiday bulbs or other décor. Don't use disposable holiday centerpieces.
- Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones.
- Opt for in-person delivery where possible and feasible instead of mailing gifts. Gift shopping online? Ship it directly to the recipient.
- Stuff stockings with items that have little or no packaging to reduce waste.
- Recycle your holiday tree. Your municipality may offer a free tree collection or recycling program that will turn your tree into mulch or compost. Contact your local department of public works to find out. Remember to remove all lights and decorations first.