Amp up Your Eco-Friendly Know-How This Winter

Live green this winter with our tips for an eco-friendlier holiday.

We wish you a peaceful, healthy holiday and joyful new year!

The holiday season is upon us, and with so much to do, it can be easy to forget about the environment. But keeping it green is easier than you might think. Read on for our top eco-friendly tips for your holiday season and the new year.

Use LED lights and reuse decorations. LED (light-emitting diodes) bulbs use 80 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs plus, they’re cool to the touch. Look for the Energy Star seal to find bulbs with the highest-energy-efficiency rating. By reusing decorations year after year, you’re benefiting the planet and saving the trouble (and time) of shopping for new decorations each holiday season!

Have a locally sourced feast. Support your local economy and family farmers by locally sourcing some or all of your holiday dinner. Locally sourced foods are eco-friendlier than foods that must be shipped from afar before they land on your dinner table, and such foods tend to taste fresher as well. If you are hosting, consider using reusable napkins and dinnerware instead of paper plates and plastic cutlery.

Throwing an Ugly Sweater or Secret Santa party? Source from a thrift store. Instead of purchasing an ugly sweater new from a manufacturer, consider buying your sweater gently used. Likewise, if you’re participating in a Secret Santa or White Elephant exchange, why not find something cool from a thrift store or from your own storage? Encourage your guests to do the same! It’s a fun and green challenge!

Greenify your holiday card. This year, try sending your annual holiday card in the form of an eCard. Still want to send via post? Try a postcard made from recycled paper.

Wrap with sustainability. Most manufactured wrapping paper found in-store is not recyclable. Here are some ways to reduce the waste from gift wrapping:

  • Buy gift wrap made from recycled materials.
  • Make your own gift wrap from cloth and other materials, like newspaper.
  • Save wrapping paper from gifts you receive to use next year.
  • Reuse boxes for shipping and gifts, rather than buying new ones.
  • Recycle wrapping paper (if allowed by your recycling service) and boxes rather than throwing them away.
  • Try hiding unwrapped gifts around the house for a fun holiday scavenger hunt or gift an experience, such as a future unique outing together – quality time together doesn’t require wrapping or shopping and studies have shown they tend to make people happier, too.

Recycle your Christmas tree. Each year, about 10 million real Christmas trees end up in landfills. While your tree won’t fit in the recycling bin, you can recycle your tree! Many cities offer programs to turn your tree to mulch or wood chips. Some even use old trees to do important environmental projects like streambank stabilization. Visit the National Christmas Tree Association or do an Internet search to find a Christmas tree recycling program near you.

“How to Make the Holiday Season More Eco-Friendly,” The Oakland Press, Nov. 26, 2018.

“12 Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season,” Dawn Gifford,, Nov. 6, 2019.