NetworxOur environment is one of the things that usually suffers when the race is on to complete holiday arrangements like cooking and cleaning or putting the finishing touches on that little bit of remodeling before family and friends arrive.
Jakob Barry writer Jakob Barry
The reason: Although being green is rewarding, it sometimes takes extra effort, which is why the key to going that route during the holiday season is getting ahead of the game early. For example, if bins for recycling are already organized, we can simply drop glass in one bag and plastic in another. If not, as it gets down to the wire, it’s easier to make excuses and just toss it all in one garbage can. That being the case, if you want to institute eco-friendly measures into the holiday preparations this year, here are a few ideas to start thinking about:
  1. Gift wrap: Start collecting reusable materials from around the house to wrap your gifts. Whether it’s used boxes, extra construction paper or old posters you no longer need, there are so many options that can be painted or decorated and transformed into truly stylish wrapping.
  2. Holiday cards: Just like with gift wrapping, holiday cards made from reusable materials add a very personal touch. Try designing them out of old photographs or recycling parts of past cards.
  3. Packaging: Instead of buying bubble wrap or pieces of Styrofoam for protecting breakable gifts, make your own stuffing by crumpling newsprint, cutting up junk mail or using articles of clothing that have seen better days.
  4. Compost bucket: Get a bucket for all your organic scraps. That way you don’t have to think twice about dumping them in the compost when you’re in a rush.
  5. Lighting: Purchase a timer for electric light decorations and keep them off during the day when they aren’t needed. Alternatively, utilize LED lighting which will use much less energy than standard incandescent or CFL bulbs.
  6. Buy organic: Unfortunately, buying organic is rarely less expensive than regular produce. If necessary, just purchase organic fruits and vegetables that would have greater amounts of pesticides if bought at nonorganic vendors. Do your research now so when you have your list in front of you, you’ll know which ones to be more concerned about.
  7. Use less disposables: When hosting a full house, it’s definitely easier to use disposables. Try purchasing eco-friendly brands that degrade quickly.
  8. Use green cleaning supplies: When you clean, clean with green soaps and disinfectants that won’t leave harmful odors and don’t have noxious chemicals that can seep into the ground and taint aquifers. Know there are many that can be made with household ingredients you probably already have. It just takes a little time to search for these recipes, and there’s no better time that now.
  9. Recycle the tree: Right now, many people are envisioning how beautiful their Christmas tree will look in their homes, but at a certain point it will need to be disposed of. Instead of leaving it outside for the trash truck, make plans to break it down for compost or mulch.
  10. Give green gifts: Try and search for gifts that are not only environmentally friendly, but were also manufactured and packaged with the environment in mind.
Jakob Barry writes for He covers various home improvement topics, including commercial painting and garage door opener installation.