You may be dreaming of a white Christmas, but really we should all be striving for a green holiday! Let’s face it, with all the wrapping paper, cards, décor and packaging, we create a lot of waste while celebrating the season. Here are a few tips that can help you use the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – to not only help the environment but to save time, energy and money as well.

Remember, It All Starts With Shopping.

  • Reduce the amount of plastic and paper bags you use by bringing your own – some places may give you a discount for doing so. Or, if you do accept store bags, reuse them from store to store and shopping trip to shopping trip.
  • Reduce the amount of gas you use by combining your gift-searching sprees with your regular errands.
  • Reduce your spending on gifts that are heavy on packaging, especially if it’s materials that don’t recycle.

Get Creative with Wrapping and Gifting.

  • Reuse shopping bags for gift giving. Either add a bow or cut them apart and use them as wrapping paper. Or recycle newspapers and magazines you have at home as wrapping paper.
  • Reuse a basket, tin or jar you have on hand to hold your gift rather than a box or gift bag. Think how much you’ll save on wrapping paper!
  • Reduce the amount of things you give and give experiences instead. Has someone on your list mentioned wanting to go to a ball game or a concert or take a cooking or yoga class? Get tickets or a gift card! Or consider a do-it-yourself coupon book with babysitting for new parents or errands for those who don’t drive.
  • Recycle last year’s holiday cards as gift tags or let kids make ornaments out of them.

Donate the Old.

  • Reduce the amount of toys, clothes and small appliances going to the landfill by donating what you no longer need rather than throwing it out. Consider women’s shelters, Goodwill or your local church.
  • Recycle the decorations you no longer use by donating them to local schools to use in their drama programs or to churches rather than tossing them in the trash.

Say It, Don’t Mail It.

  • Reduce the amount of paper waste by video chatting with friends and relatives over the holidays rather than mailing cards. If you just can’t imagine the holidays without cards, buy recycled ones, use postcards to eliminate the need for an envelope or send e-cards.
  • Recycle the cards and envelopes you receive from others.

Recycle that Tree.

  • Recycle your live tree so that it gets turned into mulch rather than taking up space in a landfill. Check with your community or city on curbside pickup days or drop-off centers.
  • Reduce the amount of trees that get cut down every holiday season by investing in an artificial tree. It saves on water, you can use it for years to come, and there are no needles to clean up.

The Christmas season is about showing our love – not to just family and friends but to nature as well. Here’s to a wonderful and green holiday season!