Green Holiday Decorating
Traditional holiday decorating with all the lights, wreaths and garlands and of course the Christmas tree can be hard on the environment. As Kermit the Frog said - “It's not easy being green.” but fortunately, it's not impossible. Here's a few ideas on how to help make your holiday decorating and celebrations 'green'.
Start with your lights.
- If you're still using those old incandescent lights outside your home and on your tree, it's time to get rid of them and start using LEDs (light emitting diodes). Replacing your old lights with LEDs may cost a little bit initially but LEDs will last longer than traditional bulbs, won't fade and lose their color in the elements, produce virtually no heat (making them safer to use on your tree), and when turned on, use much less electricity than traditional lights. Some estimates say using LED lights for 30 days around Christmas will cost in the area of $2, while traditional lights will cost around $30, so there's a financial incentive as well as 'green' motive to change. Get even greener and add to your power savings by plugging your lights into a timer so you'll never go to bed and forget to turn them off.
Get a real Christmas tree
- Some people may find it hard to believe, but cutting down a real tree for Christmas is actually easier on the environment than having an artificial one. Real trees can be regrown in just a few years and they're biodegradable so your tree can be returned to the earth as mulch after Christmas Artificial trees on the other hand are made from petroleum products and during their manufacture, PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) is released into the air, dispersing dioxins that can eventually find their way into the bodies of animals and humans.
Use live wreaths and fresh garlands as part of your decorating
- Here again rather than decorating with man made plastics using natural products for your decorating will minimize the amount of pollutants going into the atmosphere and will have the added benefit of bringing the fresh scent of Pine or Balsam into your home.
Put candles in your fireplace
- While the idea of having your guests gather around a warm fire is evokes a traditional holiday feeling, fireplaces are huge energy wasters. All the time a fire is burning warm air from all over your home is being drawn up and out the chimney. While clear glass fireplace doors will cut down on the energy loss, it's even better is to not have a fire at all and achiever the look of flickering flames behind the glass doors with a number of candles set in the fire place.
- Using metal flatware along with 'real' glasses and dishes is far more eco friendly than using plastic cutlery and disposable plates because they can be washed in your dishwasher. Good news, washing your dishes in a full dishwasher uses less hot water than washing and drying them by hand.
- Cloth tablecloths and napkins that can be washed in cold water are also better for the environment than using disposable cloths and napkins.