For the Home

Earth Friendly Christmas Cheer

With the countdown to Christmas approaching single digits tomorrow, chances are that at this point you’re not obsessing about how to make things more eco-friendly (that’s not a judgment, just an educated guess). Life has a sneaky way of trumping altruism, but there’s still time to make green choices before the Fat Man descends down the chimney and the ball drops in Time Square.

Perhaps there are are still a few people to check off your own naughty-or-nice gift list. Consider giving gifts that won’t someday end up in a landfill: like music or cooking lessons, or tickets to a show. And nothing says “I love you” this holiday season like Carbon Offsets! (Yes I’m being cheeky, but you’ve got to admit the idea has its merits).

Earth Friendly Christmas Cheer

Buying local is another great way to reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. Besides steering clear of the resources used to transport a gift from China to your home, buying local usually means less packaging – one more green thumbs up for the planet.

If you’ve got a few last minute gifts to buy, you’re likely to have a little wrapping left to do too. Might I suggest green wrappings. A few years ago I tried out my first “Make and Take” by recycling old magazines into paper that (I think) would rival any hipster-chic packaging at Urban Outfitters.

For my little guy I took advantage of some Sesame Street Advertisements (just tape or glue-stick together). And we ended up with this under our tree. I think this year’s samples are an upgrade:

You can find additional wrapping ideas in this Gaiam Life article.

No Green Holiday article is complete without touching on the great tree debate: real or fake? Most have probably already trimmed their tannenbaum for this year, but a little education could prove useful for years to come.  My husband and I seem to have the same “discussion” every year about this (well, he calls it arguing. I call it discussing.)

Hubs favors the fake tree for its supposed savings in the long term, the ease of putting it up and because he convinced our real tree will some how spontaneously burst into flames. I say something that’s $20 – $40 each year, smells fabulous (and without the help of odd fake fragrances or Scentsy candles), is virtually free of carcinogens and can be “treecycled,” is a much better long term investment for our family and the future of the planet.

If you’re looking for a little more info on the subject, I’ve found these websites helpful.

Regardless of which tree you’ve chosen, it’s hard to have a Blue Christmas when you’re thinking green. So what are your favorite traditions to make the season merry and bright for the planet?


  1. Love your blog – thanks for all you do to make it so fun to read!

    Christmas trees are often sprayed with all sorts of preservatives unless you get ones that you cut from the forest lands. Even farmers growing trees you cut spray them with lots of pesticides. We found this out when our daughter got ill when we would bring the trees in the house every year. The doctor said it is not uncommon. Who knew?

    Our fake tree is going on 10 years old and we just light the Illume Balsam and Cedar candle and it smells like a real tree is in the house :)

  2. I love your eco-wrapping! Thinking you could really spice it up with gluing on fun magazine or newspaper sayings to the top of the paper to make it a little more personal.

    And we’re fake tree-ers. I miss the smell and freshness, but fake is so super easy!!

  3. I didn’t do it this year, but in the past I’ve bought trees for family members as a Christmas gift. Through the Arbor Day Foundation website, you can purchase trees which they will plant in honor of your recipient. During the holidays, you will also receive a pretty card that you can give to let your recipient know about the tree.

    This year, we’re trying to make more homemade gifts, which to me always seems a bit more green than buying them all!

  4. A real tree, always. Ornaments kept for years – I’ve purchased nothing new this year. But I have made things – mostly out of vintage papers. For wrapping paper I use brown paper bags, discarded construction blueprints, and end rolls of paper from our son-in-law’s engineering firm.

    Love your packages – so colorful and attractive to little ones (and big ones).

Make and Takes more recent posts