Have Yourself an Eco-friendly Holiday

As if the stress of the holiday season in general wasn't enough, many of us are also faced with the difficulty of trying to celebrate in an eco-friendly way while staying true to our holiday traditions. From tree choice to wrapping, even the simplest of holiday decisions seem fraught with ecological consequences...

Because holidays and traditions are such an individual choice, I'm breaking out into the first person for this one. I grew up in a household with an artifical artificial tree, and have my own articifial artificial tree today. My parents never had a real tree because when my dad was a little boy in NYC, the fire department had to hack through his kitchen floor to put out a tree fire in the apartment downstairs. I don't have a real tree because I have bad allergies that are triggered by real trees, but I do love the look of a Christmas tree in my house. I know that artificial trees are not a green choice, but it the only choice for me. On the plus side, my parents have only ever had the one artificial tree, so 35 years and counting is my tree goal as well.

When I was little, I used to revel in the huge pile of discarded Christmas paper; now I cringe to think of the impact of all those rolls of Santas and snowmen. My family made the transition to gift bags several years ago, and now we use wrapping paper only for gifts that are too large or awkward to fit into a bag. We save and reuse all of the bags and bows, and any of the paper that we can (it helps that we are only dealing with adults opening presents). Sometimes I miss the pictures of the mess, but we've transitioned to embarassing pictures of people wearing the bows instead...

Do you worry about staying green during the holiday season? Do you have any tips to share with fellow readers about celebrating in an eco-friendly manner?

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