We can all agree that the holiday spirit can be a beautiful thing. Somehow it injects many people with an insurmountable amount of joy, hope, and all those feel-good emotions. However, you know what is not a big part of the holiday season? What a waste that can be.
When I say wasteful, I’m talking about the fact that most holiday traditions don’t take the environment into consideration. I’m not trying to be a Debbie-Downer here, but why do we need so much plastic to celebrate the holiday season? The reality is that we don’t – we just got used to buying what’s on hand without thinking about the domino effect it might have.
But it’s good ! We are all learning to take care of the planet a little more every day. That’s why we wanted to share some easy-to-follow tips to make your holiday and Christmas decorations more eco-friendly.
Start with your tree
Did you know that plastic Christmas trees are bad for the environment? Almost 90% of these plastic trees come from China, which means a lot of carbon emissions – and we shouldn’t want that if we want to fight climate change. Plus, these artificial trees aren’t made from recycled materials, so it’s hard for them to decompose (often don’t) when they end up in landfills.
On the other hand, even though real trees are cut down for holiday fun, it actually helps maintain healthy forest habitats. This, in turn, helps the wildlife that depends on this habitat – we need to maintain the right circle of life. Even better, real trees can be recycled and given another purpose once the holiday season is over! In fact, most states have organizations that accept real Christmas tree donations for conservation purposes in their local communities. So, to recap: get yourself a real tree!
Also think about your crown
Artificial crowns are as harmful as artificial trees. Instead, try making your own using fresh, seasonal foliage. Or make one out of fabric! All you need to do is create a solid foundation, and the rest is history. What’s amazing is that you can reuse this wreath all year round – just change the fabric(s) for the relevant holiday.
Launch plastic Christmas decorations as soon as possible
Plastic decorations aren’t just sticky; they too cannot be recycled. This means that at some point in your life, your Christmas cheer will float around the earth, harming animals as it will take hundreds of years to decompose. Try eco-friendly decorations instead! You can craft them or buy them, the choice is yours.
If you want to buy them, there are many options to choose from. Whether it’s glass, wood, or brass, you’re sure to find something to match your decorative style. Pottery Barn, Anthropologie and Target are known for offering a selection of eco-friendly Christmas decorations. If that’s not your vibe, there’s plenty of pages on Etsy filled with eco-friendly decorations.
If you’re more of a handyman, go for it! Some ideas that can serve as inspiration are popcorn, paper, felt, and fabric. For me, the easiest way is to “sew” some popcorn to create a unique Christmas tree garland. However, the possibilities are endless!
And your Christmas lights?
Christmas lights account for approximately 6.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year, aaccording to a 2008 study from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the United States Department of Energy. This type of energy consumption emits more carbon and healthy natural gases for our planet. Such energy consumption would have supplied electricity to all El Salvador in 2016 alone, where their consumption was only 5.9 billion. And, believe it or not, Christmas lights, especially those with incandescent bulbs, are part of the problem.
That is why The US Department of Energy advised us to use festive LED lights on our Christmas decorations, especially since they stated that LEDs use 75-80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer. It’s just better – it even lowers your electricity bill.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to leave them on all day and all night. Please don’t overdo it. Having these lights on all night can affect the routine of nocturnal animals, which can have consequences. So, also pay attention to how long you leave them on.
This “new way” of decorating for the holidays may take some getting used to, but it will be worth it in the end – for you and those who follow.
As the Native American proverb says, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; We borrow it from our children.