Help the environment have a Merry Christmas this year, too. With a few thoughtful, green steps, you can have a delightful holiday and rest easy knowing you did your part to help save the earth’s resources.

If you’ve always purchased a live tree every year, you can still get a live tree and stay true to your green way of living. Just don’t buy a tree that’s been cut at all. Instead, pick out a tree with the roots still hanging on.

You’ll find trees like this with the roots wrapped carefully to preserve them or you’ll find them in a large container. They’ll be just a bit heavier, so watch your back when you lift them. Once the celebration is over, you can make the tree part of your landscaping. If that’s not an option for you, then look to buy a tree that’s organically grown. You can find tree sellers that don’t promote the use of pesticides on their trees.

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When you get the tree home and it’s time to put the lights on, decorate the tree with the LED lights that are now available. You can’t tell the difference in LED lights from traditional lights as far as looks go yet they are helping to conserve the earth’s energy by saving power. Use recycled ornaments on the tree. The kids can get involved by making ornaments out of objects you have around the house.

When it’s time to start on your Christmas list, for the items you do have to buy, make you carry the reusable shopping bags along and leave the plastic ones at the store. Make sure you buy gifts that don’t require extra accessories to be used.

For wrapping the gifts you did buy, don’t use retail purchased paper. Make your own paper instead. You can use the pages from last year’s calendar, brown paper bags decorated with cut out designs or you can use the colorful newspaper inserts. You can also skip paper wrapping altogether and wrap your Christmas gifts with fabric you’ve sewn together. Tie the top with a string of jute and a sprig of holly.

Not every gift has to be store bought. Some of the best gifts are homemade. Breads, jellies, crocheted blankets and hand knitted sweaters all make great gifts without contributing to landfill waste.

Even better than some home made gifts are regifted ones. If you have a gift you didn’t want or can’t use, wrap it and pass it to someone who will use it and let it be known that you’d like regifted presents as well.

Forget the plastic dishes and utensils at parties and use real dishes instead. When it’s time to dine, light candles and turn off the electricity for an even better green Christmas. And go ahead and enjoy your outside Christmas displays, but be sure and use a timer that will turn the lights off at a prearranged time.

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