Preparing Your House for an Eco-Friendly Holiday
As everyone gets in the holiday spirit, it can be easy to get swept up and forget about living sustainably and reducing your carbon footprint. Even making a few small changes as you prepare your house for an eco-friendly holiday season can have a big impact. Here are some helpful tips that make being a friend of the environment easy all season.
Prep For Guests
Don’t stress too much about deep cleaning the entire house. Instead, be strategic by focusing on the main areas that people will be spending time in. Target the high traffic areas: most likely the front entryway, kitchen, living room and bathrooms. A quick dusting and decluttering can go a long way.
Make sure everyone feel welcomed by putting a little extra effort into guest spaces. If friends and family will be staying over take time to thoroughly clean the bedrooms and keep the bathrooms sparkling. Be sure there are enough clean towels, toiletries, blankets and pillows to make sure they feel at home.
If you plan on cooking and baking heavily it’s a good idea to start by giving the fridge and oven a deep clean well in advance. Go through and discard anything past its prime. This way you can make space to chill meal prep and leftovers. And if you will be hosting any parties, make an effort to use regular dishes, utensils and cloth napkins instead of buying excess plasticware and paper napkins.
Lighting & Decor
No matter what your family is celebrating this season, lights are sure to be a big part of the decorating process. Think about investing in an automatic timer so that your lights won’t be running 24/7. Try to remain sustainable by switching out old string lights for LED lights. They are available for both indoor lights on the tree or outside around the house. A lot of people have the misconception that LED lights are harsh and cold but there are many options including colors that mimic incandescent lighting will help you save on both money and energy in the long run. For a warm and cozy holiday feel chose lights labeled “warm white” or “soft white”.
Instead of buying all new ornaments and other decor, check out your local thrift store or online for some eco-friendly DIY inspiration. Many second-hand or vintage ornaments might ad just the right amount of charm to your holiday display.
The cost of wrapping paper during the holiday season alone skyrockets, and once the present is given it all goes to waste. Give thought to using fun gift bags instead that can be kept for next year. Get creative with wrapping by using old fabrics, recycling paper bags that can be decorated, using colorful comic pages from the newspaper or even making a collage to decorate an empty box. Any paper you do use can often be salvaged and reused next year or recycled instead of trashed.
Get a Real Tree
A Christmas tree is a must have for many families during the holidays. A common misconception is that a fake tree is the more eco-friendly option. The fake trees eventually break down or are thrown into landfills, creating another unnecessary waste, instead, opt for a live tree this year. The greenest way to celebrate is to buy a potted younger tree that can be replanted after the season ends. Second best are the bulkier, pre-cut christmas trees that can be disposed of responsibly by running through a mulcher to spread in your garden or using for firewood. Look into your area’s specific disposal programs, as some cities even offer pickup of old trees for recycling or use on environmental projects such as streambank stabilization.
Consider swapping out some stocking stuffers (usually small trinkets and knick knacks) with healthy, all-natural treats. Dried fruits, clementines, and nuts are all great alternatives to plastic and excessively packaged candies. To save on the amount of wrapping needed gift experiences instead the memories made are well worth its skipping the wrapping paper.
If you can’t pass up on retail gifts and want to have things under the tree, purchase things with minimal packaging and that are sourced locally and sustainably. You could even select eco-friendly gifts to encourage friends and family to live more sustainably
Preparing your house for an eco-friendly holiday season will have a positive impact on the environment and your bottom line. Keep some of these ideas in mind this year so that you can enjoy the holidays while remaining as environmentally conscious as possible.