A Green Christmas (Part 2)

Sheri Reed

Your Carbon Footprint

Need some tips for going green this Christmas?

Today, I bring you ideas from author Nancy S. Grant (The Pocket Idiot's Guide™ to Your Carbon Footprint). Don't miss author Trish Riley's (The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Living) responses in yesterday's post Green Christmas (Part 1).

Let's see what Nancy had to say...

How can families do their part to "green" their holiday festivities?

Nancy S. Grant: Reuse and recycle!

When our new home was finally finished in December 1996, we moved in five days before Christmas—what a hectic time! After I finished unpacking (yes, I admit it took until mid-January), I organized all the holiday decorations, wrapping supplies, etc., retaped the box bottoms, added file card labels on the top flaps and one side, then packed everything away neatly. They all fit neatly under the stairs, and I'm still using these boxes, 12 years later.

With an enormous extended family, wrapping gifts is also an exercise in recycling. I have a box of boxes (some from department stores that shut their doors decades ago!), and boxes of bows and ribbons, many of which have become old favorites, appearing year after year on special gifts. At my house, you're just as likely to hear "save the bows!" as you are "Merry Christmas!"

We also recycle gifts—the joke gifts, that is. We've been passing around a pair of ridiculously gaudily trimmed pair of "granny" style underwear for 27 years! The "lucky" recipient of this gift from Santa saves it and wraps it up the next year for someone else. Silly fun, and you ought to see the photos of one of my son-in-laws modeling them worn over his blue jeans!

To me, that's what Christmas is all about, fun and making pleasant memories—things you often can do without spending a lot of money.

What are some easy things we can do during the holidays to reduce our family's carbon footprint?

Nancy S. Grant: As a person who craves sunshine, these short and often gray winter days and long winter nights make holiday light displays a real treat for me. The sparkle really lifts my spirit—but I don't want it raising my electric bill, too!  So I tend to leave the trees unplugged most of the time and only turn on the lights for a few hours in the evenings.

When it's party time, after the last guest arrives, I turn off the porch lights and don't turn them on again until the guests are leaving. It's a small step, but develops a good habit to have year-round.

What are some environmentally friendly gift ideas for beginners?

Nancy S. Grant: I recommend giving the gift of doing—and this year it could be doing something "green." If you have an elderly relative or neighbor, how about giving that person the gift of your labor to help add weatherstripping to the doors or put up plastic over windows to save on energy use and costs? How about offering to set up a recycling center in someone's kitchen and then volunteering to take things to the curb or recycling center for a neighbor who isn't able to do it alone? If you ask your teens or young kids for ideas like this, you might get some really good suggestions.

Enjoy the holidays and have a healthy, prosperous, and happy New Year!

Thanks for the sharing your green living tips for the holidays, Nancy.

For more Green Christmas tips, check out author Trish Riley's responses in yesterday's Green Christmas (Part 1).

+++ Are you going green this Christmas or holiday season? Tell us how.

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