Green your holidays!

Written by Lauren


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 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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1 Comment

  1. Ben Stallings

    Great tips! However, the advice about turning down the thermostat is not applicable to most homes.
    When a thermostat controls a heat source such as a furnace, the furnace only kicks in when the temperature gets below the set temperature. Adding another heat source such as a crowd of people will prevent the temperature from getting below the set point, so turning the set point down further will not accomplish anything — the furnace won’t turn on anyhow, whether you turn the set point down or not.
    That is assuming the thermostat is in the same part of the house as the people, which is the case in most houses. If the thermostat is, say, on a different floor or in a shut-off part of the house, your advice applies.
    What may be applicable to more people, especially those living in recently built or renovated homes that are tightly sealed, is that during a party a window may need to be opened to provide more air for the people to breathe. People produce a tremendous amount of CO2 and water vapor which must escape from the house and be replaced by oxygen, and most central heating systems only recycle the air inside the building. Modern houses are sealed just enough to allow sufficient air leakage for the residents to breathe… so adding people means adding air. Obviously this means losing heat as well, so you may not want to turn down that thermostat!
    Ben Stallings
    Home Energy Auditor
    Central Energy Savers
    Emporia, KS