Staying eco-friendly this holiday season

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

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Who says nature and the holidays can’t mix together peacefully?

While the weather outside is frightful, the Christmas cheer in the air is oh-so delightful. That’s right, it’s the time of the year when we give to others who are less fortunate than us and enjoy the company of our families. This year, let’s give Mother Nature the gift of an eco-friendly holiday season with these simple steps.

For one, don’t go too crazy with the gift wrapping paper. An average family can easily fill up 2-3 bags with discarded wrapping paper, ribbons, and plastic packaging. Instead of wasting all that paper, save it up for next year’s gifts! If that doesn’t sound appealing, pediatrician Alan Greene says cloth wrappings are the best solution for green holidays. Not only do they last for years and years, they are also much cheaper in the long run than traditional paper.

The eco-friendly approach doesn’t have to stop at the wrapping either, because the gifts themselves can be green, too. If there’s a toy that needs batteries under the tree, be sure to pack the rechargeable variety with it. Also, several communities offer programs where you can recycle old electronics such as computers and cellular phones so they don’t end up as e-waste. This is especially important because a recent report from the United Nations and other related organizations estimate more than 72 million tons of e-waste will pollute the Earth by 2017.

Finally, nothing sings Christmas like decorations. One simple step you can take towards a greener holiday home is to choose LED Christmas lights. Not only do they use less energy, these little guys also pose less of a fire hazard. Additionally, stay away from perfumed candles and air fresheners, which smell nice but release dangerous chemicals into the air. Alexandra Zissu, who works for the environmental organization Healthy Child Healthy World, loves to stuff her stocking with organic packs of seeds and yummy oranges. If you follow these steps, Mother Nature will surely love her gift.

Featured image courtesy of Matthew Paulson on Flickr. Image courtesy of Laura Bittner on Flickr.