Your Christmas tree and Christmas bonus aren't the only ways to add some green to your life for the holidays. The holiday season has begun, which means more family, more spending and more food. But there are ways to save a few dollars and make the most of the expenses that come along with the celebrations all while enjoying your normal traditions.
1. Reusable wrap
Instead of buying wrapping paper, that can add up in cost and is often made of material that isn't great for the environment, use some things you've already got around the house. Try using leftover newspapers, posters, or old calendars, which are all reusable. If you are shipping gifts, instead of using bubble wrap, try using plastic bags or glossy paper found in magazines.
2. Use LED lights
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends being more energy efficient during the holidays and suggests using LED lights for decorating as one way to do it. LED lights can last up to 10 times longer and use up to 80 percent less energy than traditional florescent lights, according to Eco-Cycle. The CDC also recommends setting holiday lights on a timer to save energy.
3. Wash and Reuse
Although using disposable kitchenware is easier for clean up and high-volume parties, using a set of sustainable and reusable dishes can help cut down on waste. If you don't want to be stuck alone with a pile of dishes to wash, ask a few of your friends ahead of time if they wouldn't mind being a part of the clean-up crew. Put on some holiday tunes and make a fun experience out of it.
4. Green goods
Add more green, seasonal, natural or organic foods to your holiday dinner spread. Visit a local farmer's market and add another fresh vegetable to your menu. If you don't know of a market in your area, try substituting a dish you would already make from canned vegetables and incorporate the fresh ingredient into the recipe.
Don't let your leftovers go to waste. Allow your guests to reusable dishes to pack a plate of leftover food to take home. Look up recipes to create a new meal from your leftover dishes, or find a local homeless shelter to donate the food to.