3 Tips for a Green Holiday Season


While we adore new store bought gifts, shimmery, festive paper and decorations, we can reduce the amount of negative impact to our planet during the holidays by using more eco-friendly gift wrap options, sustainable shopping and decorating practices.  And bonus that while you are giving back to the planet you may also be saving some money too.

Here are some tips in three areas on how you can make this a green holiday season:

1) Green Gift Wrapping Options:

  • Reuse magazines, newspapers or other paper products (old maps, travel brochures, etc.) by turning them into original wrapping paper.  You can even match the type paper to the gift recipient.  For example, the men of the household may enjoy the Sports section of the newspaper while the ladies may like their presents covered with fashion magazines. 
  • If you would like to still buy gift paper, consider buying fair trade gift wrapping paper that helps support developing countries such as Unicef or Ten Thousand Villages.
  • Take a cue from nature and use pine cones, leaves, and more as special toppings to your present.

2) Sustainable Giving:

  • Whenever possible buy locally made gifts which reduce the impact of transportation that contributes to the production of greenhouse emissions and global warming.
  • Choose gift options that are made from recyclable materials
  • Gifts of service or experiences can be very memorable with little impact on natural resources.  Choose from massages, tickets to the local theatre, music lessons, and much more.  Or give the gift of an experience that will create special memories and bonding such as tickets to a show or concert, museum memberships, and more. 
  • If you are a great cook or gardener, nothing is better received than some homemade holiday treats or beautiful flower bouquet from your own backyard.
  • Once thought as a bad thing to do, re-gifting actually saves the environment with no energy or resources expended.  So go through your stuff and see what can make great gifts such as picture frames or books that you never got around to read.

3) Green Decorating:

  • If you love the smell and presence of a live Christmas tree but hate the fact that after the holiday the tree ends up on the curbside as garbage, then look into buying a potted or balled Christmas tree where the roots are still attached.  That way after the holiday season is over your family can replant the tree in the backyard or donate it to the parks department.  For more information visit http://www.LivingChrismasTrees.org
  • When buying decorations look for LEDs (light-emitting diodes) for your home and tree.  While they are more expensive they will last much longer than incandescent bulbs and stay cool to touch for the little ones in your family.
  • When decorating your dining table purchase eco-friendly decorating items such as bamboo tableware and choosing soy, vegetable wax or beeswax candles to light up your table top (and bonus you not only set the mood but also conserve electricity.


  1. Tenthousandvillages.com. “Gift Wrap.” (Accessed December 7, 2010)
  2. Unicefusa.com. “Shop Unicef.” (Accessed December 7, 2010)
  3. Eartheasy.com “How to Have a Green Christmas.” (Accessed December 7, 2010)
  4. http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1568660,00.html


  1. Rosie Arreola says:

    This is so very true, if each of us took the time to re-use the products that we bury on a daily basis, our environment would in the long run be in better conditions, not only for ourselfs but for our future “The Children.” My 7 year old daughter is constantly reminding me to re-use and recycle, then after taking an online course on Environmental Science , I know see the seriousness,of the impact that all the excess plastic and so forth are doing to our environment. So definitely that would be a great idea to re-use our magazines!=)~, Great Article Linda!