how to be green during christmas week

It's almost Christmas go time! Are you ready? Code word is "Santa's got a brand new bag."

With three days until Christmas, chances are, you've finished your shopping and most of your wrapping. But there are still plenty of ways you can be green during this holiday week.


If you're having a holiday gathering, the most eco-friendly dinnerware is the kind you use normally. But if you're having a large gathering and choose the disposable route, look for plates and bowls made of recycled or compostable material instead of styrofoam, which cannot be recycled and is not biodegradable.


Santa passed! Look at all those pretty presents under the tree! Even though the wrapping paper is the least important thing on your mind as you're checking out all your gifts, don't just throw it all into a trashbag and be done with it. Have one bag for trash and one for recyclable materials.

What you can save and reuse:
  • Tissue paper. Unless it's shredded to bits, there's no need to throw it out and buy new tissue paper next year. Collect and store your tissue paper with your gift wrap.
  • Gift bags and boxes (especially those ones you get from department stores). They can last a long time and be reused year after year. Fold them down and store them after Christmas.
  • Gift bows. Even if they're smashed, they can be reused. Just spruce them up a bit and they're good as new! If they're destroyed, then you'll have to toss them.
  • Bubble wrap and packing peanuts.

What you can recycle:

  • Brown kraft paper or other unwaxed paper IS recyclable.
  • Plastic and cardboard packaging. 

What you'll have to trash:
  • Waxy, shiny and glittery wrapping paper is NOT RECYCLABLE. If it can be salvaged, keep it for next year. If it's a lost cause, you'll have to chunk it.
  • Styrofoam packaging.


Don't haul your tree out to the curb with your regular trash. There are many ways to recycle trees. If you live anywhere near the Louisiana swamps, your city may collect trees to use in marsh restoration projects. Check with your city's garbage company to see if they collect for marsh restoration.

On your own, you can use your Christmas tree as bonfire material. Just make sure you've pulled off EVERY ornament and tinsel strand first! If you know someone with a camp (such as at Toledo Bend), they can use the trees as fish habitats.

Hitting up after-Christmas sales? Go ahead and stock up for next year. Choose LED lights, which save on your electricity bill. They also stay cooler than incandescent lighting, so your tree isn't as big of a fire hazard. 

Look for wrapping paper that can be recycled - brown kraft paper is great for wrapping gifts, and you can get creative with bows and nametags. Or next year, use newspapers as gift wrap!

And if you start to buy a ton of tissue paper for next year - stop! You really don't need it. Use newspapers or those wrapping paper remnants that are too small to cover another gift. Or, if you've saved bubble wrap, those airpak things or packing peanuts, reuse them in your gifts.

Throw all your cardboard into your recycling bin for collection - don't throw it out! A safety tip: Don't pile the boxes next to the bin on the curb. Flatten boxes and put them inside the bin, so no one can see a giant ad for all the new expensive stuff sitting in your house.

So, while recycling and being eco-friendly may not be the most exciting thing to think about this week, you can make a few simple changes and make a bigger impact on the holiday!

What will you do to be greener this Christmas?

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