Christmas is a time to gather together with family and friends and celebrate. But anytime lots of people are gathering for a celebration, it often means lots of energy is being used and lots of materials are being wasted.
This year, plan ahead to make sure that your holiday is as green as possible. Here are our Green Christmas tips for you and yours:
1. Ditch the disposable dinnerware.
If you don’t already own some, invest in cloth napkins and use your own plates to eat on rather than paper or styrofoam. While it may cost more in the short run, you can use those items for years to come. Just think of all the money you’ll save by not buying paper napkins, styrofoam plates, and plastic utensils.
2. Be aware of wastefulness.
Americans waste more food during the holiday season than during the rest of the year. Be aware of this and plan ahead to waste less food. Some ideas include:
- Purchase reusable plastic containers in advance so that you can send food home with your guests.
- Freeze any leftovers that can be frozen. You can always get them out of the freezer later. But if you put food in the refrigerator and don’t eat it within a week or so, it will get thrown out.
3. Wrap your gifts with decorated newspaper.
Get the family together to use watercolors to decorate old newspaper that you can then use to wrap gifts. Avoid gift bags as they tend to use more paper than wrapping (the bags are made of thicker paper, and tissue paper is usually used as well). Also avoid stuffing boxes of gifts with tissue paper for decoration. If you need to pad something breakable that is wrapped in a box, use cloth instead of tissue.
4. Consider service gifts over material gifts.
More than any other time of the year, we purchase brand new material goods around the holidays. This year, instead of getting each other brand new products, try offering each other service gifts. Those can either be services that you offer your loved ones yourself, such as doing the laundry for a month, or a service that you can purchase using a gift certificate, such as a day at the spa or a green clean home from Green Girl Maid Service. Not only will you bring fewer materials into the “cycle of stuff,” but you’ll give a personal service to a loved one or help support a local business.
5. Use fire to heat the house.
If possible, heat your home with your fireplace instead of your central heating system. If you have guests over, close the doors to unused rooms and reduce traffic through doors that lead outside to keep the warm air from escaping.
6. Make food homemade rather than buying at the store.
This is the time of year to cook homemade rather than purchase pre-packaged foods that are likely packed with preservatives and covered in plastic wrap. Chances are you have plenty of people around that you can enlist to help you in the kitchen. It also creates some bonding time that would not have happened otherwise!
Merry Christmas from us here at Green Girl Maid Service! We hope you and your family have a happy holiday.
Image via Flickr user flashfire