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Reduce Your Impact on the Environment This Christmas Print E-mail
Kelly Winter   
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Reduce Your Impact on the Environment This ChristmasEach Christmas, our family continues to find innovative ways to reduce our impact on the environment.  Here are some ideas that your family may like to consider.

Christmas Trees
We eliminated our tree altogether and we place our gifts around a festive stuffed Christmas Santa Bear.  If this is too drastic a change for your family then go for a potted, live tree that you can replant after Christmas. Still not comfortable, then choose a live cut tree over an artificial tree that and can be taken to the chipper afterwards to ensure there is no waste. They smell nicer too.

By far one of the most wasteful traditions we practice. Think of the volumes of paper need, the energy used in manufacturing and transporting the cards first to the stores and then to your recipients. Try a phone call instead to connect with friends and family or send an e-card via e-mail.  A nice idea is to setup an online family album with pictures taken throughout the year and send a link to friends and family.  If you do get cards sent to you, save them for the following year and make cut-outs from their pictures to reuse as gift tags.

Reduce where possible but still keep it festive for that Christmas feeling.  Try homemade decorations such as popcorn strings and making decorations from recycled materials.  Use LED lights both inside and outside the house or burn candles to add a real Christmas ambiance.

Wrapping Paper
Again none is better but if you wish to keep it a surprise, try wrapping in materials you already have around the house such as newspaper, bags or last year's saved wrappings.  You can draw your own Christmas designs onto plain-looking bags.  You could also wrap one gift inside another such as a tea or bath towel.

Remember to bring your own bags and look for products with no or minimal packaging.  Buy locally made or search for used items in good condition.

Apply green thinking to your gift giving as well.  Think about giving services like hair and spa treatments or booking family vacations or outings.  Buy locally made items or give homemade gifts.  Search for e-gifts that can be digitally downloaded such as music, video games or online courses.  Re-gifting is no longer taboo in the sustainable world.

As much as possible buy food that is both organic and locally produced.  Not only is this more sustainable but it is comes with great health benefits as well.

Avoid paper and plastic as much as possible by serving your local organic food on real dishes.  Collaborate with friends and family to share dishes for large gatherings. Real napkins and tablecloths will also go along way to reduce waste.

Kelly Winter's online language courses are a fantastic way to give a sustainable Christmas gift this year. You can also read Kelly Winter's Sustainable Christmas Story on her blog spot to understand her inspiration for this article.
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