We blinked, and here we are at another holiday season. This year if you want to make the memories go far, but keep your footprint limited, here are five eco-friendly tips you can work into your traditions. 

LED holiday lights

The holidays are the season of lights, and the bright choice when it comes to cost-effective and energy-efficient lighting is LED. Let’s break it down: the power it takes to operate a single 7-watt incandescent holiday bulb could instead light two 24-foot LED strings — enough to wrap a six-foot tree. As an extra bonus, LED light strings last about 10 times longer and many manufacturers are even offering rebates this season.

Sustainable gifting

Many of us love to go big on gifts. But if you want to, there are ways to keep your footprint small while doing it. Locally crafted gifts from small businesses limit the emissions used on shipping, while gifting an experience reduces consumption. Other ideas could be inspiring someone with an awesome DIY gift or donating to local charities in someone’s name. 

Renting a tree

As crazy as it sounds, there are rental companies out there that deliver you a tree for the holidays, then bring it back to a forest nursery afterwards where they continue to clean air, contribute to the ecosystem, and sustain wildlife. California and New York have some solid sites to get you started, but local Christmas tree farms are starting the tradition too and it may be worth a look.

While artificial trees may also seem like an environmentally friendly option, they’re often non-biodegradable and non-recyclable, putting pressure on landfill when they’re thrown out at the end of their life cycle. Be sure to research your options if you’re going that route.

Electric fireplaces

As winter sets in and temperatures drop, many of us are drawn to fireplaces. While wood-burning and natural gas fireplaces lose anywhere from 50-70% of their heat, electric fireplaces are by far the most energy-efficient choice. Not only can they keep a room warm for about 16 cents an hour, but they have zero emissions and can look quite classy with the right setup. If you’re looking to replace or incorporate a fireplace into your home this season, electric is the go-to eco choice.

Reusable gift wrapping

If you’re looking for a more eco-conscious approach to gift-wrapping, you may be inspired by the ancient Japanese art of furoshiki. Furoshiki is a cloth-wrapping technique and can cover any gift from the size of your palm to the size of a car. The cloth can be reused for future years or other purposes afterwards. You can buy furoshiki wrapping cloth or use extra cloth from around the home. Check out some Furoshiki wrapping techniques to help guide you.

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