Tis the season to be jolly…and green! This year, make an effort to go green during the holidays with these helpful tips:

Don’t use shiny paper.

What kind of wrapping paper are you using to package your gifts? Although shiny wrapping paper may make the package look more appealing, this is not an eco-friendly choice. Shiny wrapping paper cannot be recycled, so the more packages you wrap with it, the more waste you are creating. This year, use natural fiber wrapping paper or put all of your gifts in bags since these can be emptied out and reused again and again.

Save your Christmas cards.

Do you get dozens of Christmas cards from friends, family members, and people you haven’t seen in years? Don’t just toss these in the trash once the holidays are over. Instead, package them up and keep them in good condition until the holidays next year. Then, cut them into small pieces and use them as gift tags so you don’t have to create more waste by buying premade gift tags from the store.

Recycle your Christmas tree.

After Christmas is over, search online to determine what kind of recycling programs your city has in place for old Christmas trees. Most cities offer curbside recycling of Christmas trees for a certain time period after the holidays are over, and some even have programs that turn Christmas trees into mulch so they can be reused.

Keep wrapping, ribbons and bows.

Instead of anxiously ripping into all of your gifts to see what’s inside, try to open them slowly and carefully to preserve the wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows. All of these items can be reused next year if you keep them in good shape, so go slow as you open gifts. Once everything has been unwrapped, try to flatten and fold the wrapping paper up so it’s easier to store and reuse. Many people begin to scrunch up the wrapping paper to throw it away, but if this happens, it will be very difficult to use it next year.

Visit local shipping stores.

Are you doing a lot of online shopping this holiday season? The cardboard boxes can be broken down and placed in your recycling bin, but that’s not the only part of your package that can be recycled. If the packages you receive come with foam peanuts or bubble wrap, gather these items together and take them to a local shipping store so they can be reused.

Buy gifts that encourage green living.

Encourage your friends and family members to go green in their own lives by purchasing eco-friendly gifts. For example, did someone ask for new clothes? Look for clothing items made from eco-friendly materials. If someone in your family recently started a new job, buy him or her stationary made out of recycled paper. You can still get all the items on your loved ones’ wish lists, but just choose greener options when shopping.

Why make a New Year’s resolution to go green when you can start as early as Christmas? Get everyone in your home involved with these tips and turn them into fun family traditions that you can do year after year.