Planning a Green Christmas

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Planning a Green Christmas

November 4, 2009

Ric Dalberri, Founder of Retirement USA

The song tells of a white Christmas, but that refers to the
weather and the Christmasy atmosphere that snow can bring. Planning for a green
Christmas is all about being environmentally active and aware while saving
money as well. In times of economic uncertainty that must surely be a good
thing. And of course, if the weather brings a little bit of white covering too,
then that makes a green Christmas perfect!

Exchanging gifts is a common practice at Christmas, and this
is an excellent place to start our green Christmas habits. The gift wrapping
paper sold in stores is usually not recyclable. Most of it is immediately
thrown away to end up in landfills. This makes gift wrapping with store-bought
paper expensive and very unfriendly to the planet – not what we want for a
green Christmas.

A much better alternative, and one that close relatives will
appreciate, is to use your children’s artwork to wrap gifts. You could also use
your children’s comic books, or the comic sections of newspapers as a bright
and colorful alternative, thereby recycling old paper. You can explain to the
recipient of the gift in a positive way why you are doing this and perhaps make
them feel guilty for not having a green Christmas as well.

It has been calculated by the Sierra Club, America’s oldest
and largest environmental organization, that if every family in the country
gift wrapped just three gifts by recycling existing paper they already have,
the paper saved would be enough to cover 45,000 football fields. Now, that’s a
green Christmas and a whole lot of trees saved too!

If you plan to hang a wreath on your front door. consider
making one yourself. It’s easy and very environmentally friendly – and you’ll
save money too. Go into the forest, or even a nearby park, and find evergreen
branches and dried twigs. These can be wrapped in a circular fashion with
cranberries strung together to add a splash of bright color. You’ll surprise
yourself at how good you are, it won’t cost you anything but a little time, and
the materials are all fully biodegradable. Your green Christmas can’t get much
better than that.

There are many more things you can do to make this a green
Christmas. Consider making your own cards, for example. Use your children’s
artwork again – it’s perfect for this and grandparent will love it. You can use
LED lights on your tree (which should be a real one that can be planted out
later) and you will save 90% on your green Christmas electricity bill. If you
start thinking about it I’m sure you will come up with other great ideas for a
green Christmas.