The holiday season is finally here, and it really is my favorite time of year. It is also the time when people will spend a lot of money and generate a lot of waste. I think this is the one time of year that I will disregard some “green” ways of life. I mean, who can really go without the beautiful lights on the Christmas tree?
Luckily, the green movement is so trendy right now that being respectful of the environment is easier than ever. There are several websites that have great references as you try to conserve energy without cutting out any holiday festivities.
Perhaps the most important power that is used during the holidays is the power of money. Everyone is going to be buying some sort of gifts for other people, and it is so important to be an informed consumer. Buying gifts online is more environmentally sound than driving to the mall, but if you have to get out in the hustle (that is part of the fun, after all), try to only make one shopping trip for the season. Also, buy products that are beneficial to all groups that are involved in the production process. Websites such as Ten Thousand Villages and World of Good offer a wide range of products. Also, if you are crafty at all, make gifts! A group on OC’s campus made wonderful recycled journals for the craft fair, and making someone cookies or food of any kind is always a great gift.
People always tend to waste a lot of energy with Christmas lights, and in order to save money, by strands of LED lights. It is always best to go with a real tree, but I know that sometimes people are allergic. So, instead of throwing away your prelit trees when part of the lights go out, ask around and see if any local home and garden stores will repair the lighting for you.
People also have so much trash during the holidays. Even in my small family, we have to throw away so much stuff after the holiday parties. This year, I hope to use recycled paper to wrap my gifts (even newspaper would work). (I have heard of some people wrapping gifts in scarfs, too. A gift within a gift!) And if there is anytime to stay away from Styrofoam and plastic plates and utensils, this is it!
Obviously this is not an exhaustive list of ways you can save energy, but this is just what has been on my mind lately. I just came back from OC’s first annual Lighting of the Commons, and I was very pleased to find out that they used LED lights to bring in this festive season. No matter what, share love and happiness wherever you go.