Our ideas and suggestions are just the beginning of things you can do for Mother Earth. The biggest step of all is simply to cut down on the amount of things -- presents, decorations, and just plain "stuff" -- you buy.
You might make a natural
wreath as a gift.
- Use recycled or recyclable materials for packaging and the gift itself.
- Choose or make gifts that are practical and consist of environmentally friendly materials. For example, assemble the dry ingredients for cookies or soup in a Mason jar and top it with scraps of seasonal fabric, ribbon, and a pine cone. Or fill a wicker basket with a wooden massage tool, herbal tea, an unbleached towel, and sea-salt bath crystals for a natural spa set.
- Instead of exchanging unwanted items with coworkers or extended family, suggest donating to a charity as a group.
What you do with your tree
after Christmas is as important
as how you decorate it.
- Cutting down Christmas trees isn't the main issue. After all, most Christmas trees come from tree farms, not the virgin forest. New, fast-growing trees are planted to replace the ones cut down. It's what we do with them after the holiday that makes them a nuisance or not. Mulching the trees into chips that can be used for landscaping is one earth-friendly solution. Many towns will have the sanitation department pick up and mulch Christmas trees, then offer the chips to residents, use them in public spaces, or sell them. You may have a neighbor with a shredder that will accomplish the same thing. Be sure to remove all decorations, including tinsel, before you recycle your tree. Since tinsel can be difficult to remove, consider leaving it off altogether.
- Buy a tree with roots that can be planted after the holidays; note that this requires planning ahead to dig a hole before the ground freezes.
- Decorate with recyclable, compostable, or bird-friendly materials.