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A Greener Christmas

Here’s how you can have a sustainable and eco-friendly Yuletide celebration

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Christmas is a time of joy, love, and celebration. But it is also a heavy burden on the Earth’s resources. We are all aware of the dire straits the world is in right now. Don’t despair as there are many ways to celebrate Christmas in a greener, more mindful way.

Lighting

The cost of electricity goes beyond your wallet. It depletes our natural resources. You can have a greener season by lowering the impact of your holiday lighting.

1. If you have a house, try to minimize your outdoor lighting displays. You can have beautiful lights, just don’t use too many.

2. Use environmentally friendly lighting like LED lights for your house and Christmas tree. LED holiday lights use 95 percent less energy than traditional bulbs and last longer too.

3. Remember to turn on your holiday lights in the evening only, and don’t forget to turn them offbefore bedtime.

Gift giving

Nowadays, most people are aware that we (humanity) are consuming too much of everything.

Our planet simply cannot sustain the demand. Children themselves are learning about the ramifications of our current ingrained culture of excess and indulgence.

MORE THAN GIFTS The author with her family cherishes spending the holidays together

MORE THAN GIFTS The author with her family cherishes spending the holidays together

1. In line with this, we need to buy less. Let’s put real thought and mindfulness into what we give each person and remember that it doesn’t always have to be a material gift. Here are a few alternative ideas for gifts this season.

For the frequent traveler: Gift the jetsetters in your life Carbon Emission Offset Projects. Carbon Flight Offsetting is one way to reduce the environmental impact of your air travel. Carbon offsetting your flight (or your friend’s) means that you are voluntarily paying for a scheme that offset your flights. This makes up for the emissions that your flight produces. The money gained from your offsetting is then spent on alternative energy projects and to projects whichever could reduce carbon dioxide emissions in various other industries.

Check out co2nsensus.com, climatepartner. com, and carbonfootprint.com

For the animal lover: Your friend loves animals? Adopt an endangered animal in their name. Do your research and find programs that suit the interests of your friend.

Check out goeco.org and worldanimalfoundation.com

2. Create a new tradition of the family Kris Kringle

In the Philippines, most people have big extended families. This means mountains of presents, which cost a fortune that usually end up being smaller tokens of unwanted gifts. Why not do a family Kris Kringle? This means that the budget per person can be quite generous since you are only buying one gift, and it can be something that the person really wants/needs. It almost guarantees that the gift will be something special and desired. This will save everyone a lot of money and waste.

3. Institute a Present Maximum

With my children, I try to enforce a three-present maximum for birthdays and Christmases. I find that children these days are so used to getting everything they want when they want it. And they’re not grateful for it. I want my kids to remember that these occasions are meant to be special, treasured, and looked forward to. There shouldn’t be so many expectations on material gifts.

4. Buy local

As mentioned earlier, greenhouse gases from transportation make up a significant portion of the globe’s emissions, which mostly come from burning fossil fuel from our cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes. Your imported products come with a hefty environmental price tag. Stick to local products that are friendlier to our planet.

5. Don’t be afraid to re-gift

This is perfectly acceptable, and there shouldn’t be any stigma attached. You received something that you don’t need, and you should pass it on to someone who does need it. Do it with the utmost respect to the original giver, but you shouldn’t keep something that you won’t use.

Wrapping Find alternatives to wrapping paper. Choose wrapping paper made using fibers such as hemp or paper using recycled content. Don’t buy metallic or foil papers. This kind of paper is difficult to recycle, and heavy metals are used in foil paper.

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