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Green your holidays!

The holiday season is the time to visit family and friends, eat our favorite seasonal dishes, and decorate our homes with festive decor. The inevitable downside of the season is of course the slightly larger carbon footprint we all produce as we indulge (er, celebrate). Here are some tips we liked – feel free to share yours!

**Use LED holiday bulbs.**
Holiday LED bulbs are a great alternative to regular incandescent holiday lights. Certain brands use up to 90 percent less energy, and will last a lifetime, avoiding the inevitable final destination of all incandescent bulbs: in a landfill.

**Recycle your Christmas tree.**
Fresh Christmas trees make a beautiful seasonal addition to your home, and are arguably nicer to mother nature than their plastic, non-recyclable counterparts. The only dilemma for eco-conscious folks is what to do with that dried up (not to mention highly-flammable) tree post-Christmas? Tree recycling facilities all over the country will turn your withered Christmas tree into mulch and wood chips. Visit www.earth911.org to find a recycling center near you!

Better yet, give a potted pine tree a try this year. These trees can be kept outside, and brought back in to be decorated year after year.

**Turn down the thermostat.**
When you have guests over, all the extra bodies in your home during holiday get-togethers will actually warm up your space a few degrees. So you don’t need to keep the thermostat cranked up to the max all day and night. Wearing that fuzzy sweater grandma knit you around the house also wouldn’t hurt (well, might cause a few winces).

**Buy local, seasonal ingredients for holiday meals.**
Organic foods that are grown without the use of pesticides are often healthier and a great way to help the environment. However, many organic foods, such as asparagus, are still shipped across the globe during the winter months when they can’t be grown at home. The long journey these foods take on their way to your dinner table produces a large carbon footprint. This year, visit your local farmer’s market instead of the super market, and buy the freshest ingredients around.

We always love hearing your ideas! Feel free to share your tips with the rest of our readers.

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