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Earth friendly holiday season tips

'Tis the season of consumption.. tra la la la etc. Over the Xmas season, the western world generates a lot more rubbish, so here's a series of tips to help you reduce your holiday season impact on the environment.

1. When purchasing gifts, try and think "earth-friendly" every step of the way; from the product itself to the packaging. If you buy green gifts, make a special effort to let the person know of its environmental benefit; you may just set the receiver on the path to a greener life.

2. Instead of buying physical gifts, consider purchasing a service or tickets to a concert.

3. Buy a donation to a third world or environmental project as a gift for someone else. Does the person you are buying for really need another pair of socks? Instead of giving them a gift they can use, buy them a gift that goes to another needy person or organization - purchase it in their name. Many organizations provide this option now. To my way of thinking, this is the perfect gift because it gives to so many. You could purchase seed that will go to a third world farming family, wheelchairs for the disabled, chickens for a community, trees for damaged land - the possibilities are endless.

4. Purchase a live tree to use as a Christmas tree and it doesn't have to be the traditional fir. There are no laws against using another species and I guarantee that your doors won't be busted down by the Santa CIA :). After Xmas is over, plant the tree in your yard.

5. Battery operated items are a hugely popular as gifts. I shudder to think how many single use batteries are consumed on Christmas day and the following weeks as kids (and adults) put their new toys through their paces. Batteries contain all sorts of toxic chemicals that are damaging to the environment. As part of your gift buying, purchase rechargeable batteries and a battery charger - these are quite economical items to buy these days and will save you a ton of money in the long run.

6. When heading out to do your Christmas shopping, take your own bags rather than using the plastic ones provided by stores.

7. Thousands, perhaps millions of tons of Christmas cards are purchased each holiday season. The mind boggles to think of how many trees are destroyed in the process. Try to purchase cards made from recycled paper and after the holiday season, if you decide not to keep the cards you receive, recycle them. Another idea worth considering is to offset the paper consumption is to plant a tree every year.

8. Christmas wrapping creates the same sort of issues as cards, but there's some added environmental dangers with metallic and plastic type wrapping. Aside from taking a long time to decompose, these types of wraps give off toxic gases when burned.

9. If you like putting bows on your gifts, use fabric instead of plastic.

10. Xmas day is a rubbish-fest. Before the gift opening and feasting begins, have boxes or bins set up for different types of rubbish - cans, bottles, paper etc. This will make your job easier at the end of the day and minimize the amount of recyclables heading for landfill.

11. Food wastage can also be a challenge on Xmas day - instead of throwing scraps, leftovers and peelings into your bin, dig them into your garden or better still, buy yourself a worm farm this Christmas and use the vegetable refuse to help you start feeding them.

The retailers of the world have brainwashed us over the years as to what Christmas is all about. I'm involved with marketing, but I've become so disgusted with this time of the year that I don't even observe it any more. That's a little extreme, but if Xmas day is an important day to you and your family, think outside the box a little and you can have a greener Christmas that may benefit the environment and society rather than contributing to destroying our planet :).

Care to share some more tips for making the holiday season more earth friendly? Please add them below :)

Michael Bloch
Green Living Tips.com
Green Living Tips is an online resource powered by renewable energy offering a wide variety of earth friendly tips, green guides, advice and environment related news to help consumers and business reduce costs, consumption and environmental impact on the planet.