How to make the holiday season more eco-friendly

Serving only locally sourced foods at your holiday party is one way to keep the festivities eco-friendly.

Serving only locally sourced foods at your holiday party is one way to keep the festivities eco-friendly.

With so much to do, it can be easy for people celebrating the holiday season to forget about the environment. But no matter how hectic the holiday season can be, there are always some simple opportunities to make it more eco-friendly.

• Create an eco-friendly party theme. Many holiday parties have themes. For example, ‘ugly sweater parties’ have become so popular that many clothing manufacturers now intentionally produce colorful sweaters that might otherwise draw the ire of fashionistas. Hosts planning to throw an ugly sweater party can easily transform such festivities into something more eco-friendly by encouraging guests to purchase their sweaters from thrift stores. A Christmas tree planting party is another eco-friendly party theme that can benefit the planet and revitalize local forests at a time of year when they might be depleted due to the demand for natural Christmas trees.

• Serve locally sourced foods. Food is often front and center during the holiday season. Whether hosting family and friends at home, dining out or catering an office party, patronize businesses that sell only locally sourced foods. Locally sourced foods are much more eco-friendly than foods that must be shipped from afar before they land on your dinner table, and such foods tend to taste fresh as well. If serving at home, use reusable dishware and cutlery instead of paper plates and plastic utensils.

• Reuse decorations year after year. Decorations need not be discarded once the holiday season ends. Come the new year, inspect holiday decorations and store those that made it through the season unscathed. Doing so benefits the planet and will save you the trouble of shopping for new decorations next holiday season.

• Get rid of your old holiday lights. Still using the same Christmas lights you used in 1995? Such lights are likely incandescent bulbs that are considerably less efficient than today’s LED Christmas lights. The Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy notes that LED lights consume 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. In addition, the OEERE says that LED holiday lights are easier to install and that as many as 25 strings of lights can be connected end-toend without overloading a wall socket.

An eco-friendly holiday season is easier to realize than many holiday celebrants may know.

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