Monday, November 30, 2009

A Green Christmas

For me, Christmas comes and goes and all I do is blink and say, "what just happened?" However, there is a much bigger group of people out there that really goes all out for the holiday season, starting the day after Thanksgiving and not dropping until midnight on Christmas Day. Heck, some people take it all the way to New Year's, celebrating by scavenging at the day-after-Christmas sales or hosting get-togethers at friends' and relatives' houses long after the 25th. So, I think it's important for those folks to know the green options that are available to them during the holiday season.

Everyone has surely heard by now of the claim that LED Christmas lights are much more energy-efficient and will save you tons of money on your electricity bill. According to this article, they use up to 80% less energy than the regular (albeit cheaper) bulbs you've probably been using forever. Another article I looked at (not worth mentioning here, as it was about two paragraphs long), stated that you would only save 20% energy. Hmm... I'm not quite convinced.

And what about the debate between using an artificial tree year after year and cutting down a fresh one every year? Of course, there's another option altogether: using a live tree that is kept in a pot and used over and over again. People seem to have thoughts all over the board on that issue. I personally use an aluminum Christmas tree that is very retro and has been in my family for about 30 years. I use it because it's short (thus, not quite as much of a temptation for the dog) and cute and easy to put up and take back down.

I found a very comprehensive book that talks about making this a Greener Christmas. It describes ways in which traditional customs can be modified so they are more earth-friendly. It includes homemade and recycled gift ideas as well as simple hints for making the holiday a simpler event. It really is a lovely book, with beautiful, glossy pages full of color pictures, and it has quite a few good ideas for the person who has a bit more time and really wants to make an effort to be green this year.

I think the main thing to remember in all of the hubbub is that this is a season meant for love, time spent with friends and family, good food and charitable acts towards others. Remember that and you will have the best holiday ever.

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