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Green Friendly Holiday Ideas

by Lou Anne DaRin

December 2023

December is a busy month and trying to be environmentally conscious during the holiday season may seem like a difficult task but here are a few ideas that I’d like to share with you.  

I’ll start by talking about Christmas trees.  The most sustainable thing you can do is to buy a living tree and put it in the ground after the holidays.  If that works for you, that’s terrific, but don’t beat yourself up if that doesn’t work for you.  Cutting down a tree that has been grown specifically for that purpose and knowing a new one will be planted in its place, is a good practice too.  The most important thing to think about is how you will dispose of the tree after the holidays.  Finding a place where they mulch up the trees or if you have a piece of property that would lend itself to letting it decompose in the woods are both good ways to go.  Sinking a tree in a pond creates a good place for small fish to hide if you happen to be able to do that.  It is best to avoid leaving it at the curb so it doesn’t end up in a landfill.  If you already have an artificial tree, don’t worry.  You’re not a bad person!  The way to turn that into a positive is to keep it for 20 years so it serves you for a good long time. 

There are also solar outdoor lights that can be used to illuminate your yard and LED lights to cut down on energy consumption.  

When it comes to gift giving I try to avoid plastic toys for the little ones but that’s easier said than done.  For the past few years my husband and I have been trying to give “experiences” to our grandchildren instead of material items.  For example, this year we’re taking them to Disney On Ice as their Christmas gift and last year we went to Great Wolf Lodge over the break.  It’s a win/win because we love spending time with them and they enjoy the experiences.  Of course, I always have a little something for them to unwrap as well. 


When it comes to wrapping gifts there are many ways to cut down on paper waste. 

  • One way is to use bags that you can use over and over again. 

  • Another way is to use decorative boxes that are sturdy and can be used over and over again.  I like my packages to look very festive so I use ribbon on those boxes (wide, sturdy, ribbon reinforced with wire that I can reuse year after year).


  • I also have several pieces of holiday fabric that I wrap gifts in.  I don’t use any tape, just that same wide ribbon to secure the fabric around the package (no sewing needed).  They look beautiful and I purchase the material at “Bits and Pieces” in Fairport where second hand fabric is sold as well as the reusable ribbon.


If any of these ideas might work for you, please use them and have a wonderful green friendly holiday. 

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