Green Christmas: Staying Jolly Sustainably

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The Holidays are upon us! Festive decor and gift wrapped boxes as far as the eye can see. It’s a beautiful time of the year, but without careful planning, it can also be a wasteful one. So how does one keep the season cheerful while also keeping it green?

A lovely Christmas tree shape, made entirely of green stars and lights.

Gift bags and ribbons can often be used for more than one gift. Or wrap in newsprint. The point of the wrapping is to hold the mystery of the gift. Very few people will be offended if you choose to re-use wrapping.

Speaking of re-use, sometimes you can re-use things like jars or bottles to hold homemade gifts. Candles, soaps, cookie mixes and more can be added to decorated Mason jars, which you can get from all kinds of sources.

Buy gifts used. A refurbished laptop, a second-hand bicycle, or similar item can bring just as much joy as a brand new one, but with far less waste.

An older tablet or laptop can also be wiped and refurbished as a gift for a child. Cherry Tree Technology would be happy to help prepare older electronics for a new home. And if they’re no longer usable, we here at E-Waste Assassin can dispose of them in a sustainable manner.


Consider giving fewer gifts. While many of us love to give gifts during the festive season, there are greener ways to show you care. Consider making a donation in the name of a loved one. Many charities will send a lovely card, detailing the help your donation provided.

Give each person less, but make it count more. Perhaps one or two bigger gifts per person will make your green holiday less opulent, but they will also make it more sustainable. Giving each loved one only one or two things that they really love will mean far less waste in the long run.

Shop Local or Handmade:

Local stores, especially those with handmade gifts, have a much lower impact on the environment than big box stores or online retailers. Go and visit a favorite small shop in your community. Not only will you keep more money in your home town, you will also keep more carbon out of our atmosphere!

Give Memories, Not Belongings:

Find something fun to do with your loved ones. Whether that means picking apples at an orchard or making your own wreath is up to you. But experiences can give a lifetime of joy, and have much less impact than the manufacture and import of tons of gifts.

Buy a Fresh Tree:

Believe it or not, a fresh tree from a tree farm is far better for the environment than an artificial one. This is because the fresh tree is usually shipped from closer, grown specifically to be cut for the holiday, and replaced by at least one more tree once it’s cut down. Artificial trees only break even on carbon use after 5 or more years.

Even better? Buy a potted tree and then plant it after the holiday season. Then it can continue providing oxygen and scrubbing carbon from the air for years to come. Not to mention adding a bit of literal green to your world.

Recycle the Things You Replace:

If any of your gifts this season are replacements for things you currently own, make sure the older models are properly recycled or reused. Donate old clothing to thrift stores. Make quilts and rag rugs. Use things for art projects. Hand down toys and clothing to younger children. And, of course, think of us when you replace your electronics. E-Waste Assassin will make sure they’re disposed of in the most sustainable manner possible.


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