Going Green This Holiday Season

Each holiday season, there are stories detailing which toys are on the most-wanted lists and how many diamonds you should buy to tell your loved one just how special she is to you. During this season of excess, consumers spend thousands of dollars on gifts, wrapping, cards, and other seasonal needs such as batteries and trash bags.

All these gifts come in elaborate packaging with plenty of paper, and it all winds up in our landfills. In between Thanksgiving and New Year's, Americans throw away an additional five million tons of garbage.

To help conserve natural resources, there are certain steps that each of us, as responsible consumers, should take. Although the ideal color for Christmas is white, take some time to add a splash of "green" to yours this year.

Recycle Wrapping Paper

Did you know that if each American family wrapped three holiday gifts in re-used wrapping paper, the amount of paper saved would cover 45,000 football fields? Many companies have taken to making recycled wrapping paper. If you care about the environment, you can help it by purchasing recycled wrapping paper.

Newspaper is another good choice for wrapping gifts. For travelers, a great idea is to pick up a newspaper in a foreign country and wrap your gifts with it. It makes a great conversation piece, and you can bet the recipient has never got a gift wrapped in Kilimanjaro newspaper before!

Get Crafty

Hand-made gifts are given from the heart. Try your hand at carving a figure out of a piece of wood, explore your inner artist and let the paint fly on a blank canvas, or take a nature walk and pick up a fallen stick to craft into a fanciful magic wand for a young fan of a certain series of books and films.

These crafty gift ideas are only a few of the thousands of ways to get creative during the holidays. In addition to providing a loved one with a special piece of your heart, you may actually discover a hidden talent or passion for a certain craft or hobby! Hand-made gifts also reduce the amount of packaging materials that make their way into the landfills every holiday season, thus helping out the environment.

Recycle Holiday Cards

If you simply must send holiday cards, look for those that are 100-percent recycled. If you still have the cards you received last year, re-use them in new ways this year. For instance, turn them into gift tags, use the colorful holiday pictures as decorations around the house, or cut them up for any number of craft purposes.

Buy Only Useful Gifts

Novelty gifts sure are funny, but they also find their way into the trash quickly! If you are going to purchase gifts, do so thoughtfully. Pick up useful gifts that the receiver will appreciate and use, not just chuckle at briefly.

Give Green Gifts

Help spread the word by giving environment-related gifts. These can be any gifts made from recycled materials, books about the environment or nature, canvas tote bags, or any other gifts that get the receiver thinking about the environment.

Make It Tasty

Who can refuse a delicious gift of holiday cookies or home-made jam? Baking cookies or any other type of delicious treat is a great gift-giving solution. Food is the universal gift, one that can please anyone as long as you keep their special dietary requirements and tastes in mind.

These are just a few ways to help make your holiday an environmentally-friendly one. With these ideas, you can significantly reduce your waste as well as the waste of those receiving your gifts. There’s no better time to show your concern for the planet than during the holiday season. Remember the three Rs of thinking globally: reduce, re-use, and recycle!