Some people have become disillusioned by the Christmas holiday because it has become so commercialized and centered around excess. But just because it’s holiday season doesn’t mean that you need to throw out all of your positive natural lifestyle habits for the month. With a few simple changes, you can make your Christmas season more focused on wellness and sustainability.
Here are some tips for making this Christmas a little healthier and eco-friendly for yourself and your friends and family.
Decorate with LED Holiday Lights
If decorating for Christmas is part of your holiday tradition, choose energy efficient LED lights instead of traditional bulbs. Not only will you conserve energy, but you’ll also save money on your electric bill during the holiday season.
Choose a Christmas Tree Not Sprayed with Pesticides
If you get a real Christmas tree each year, make sure that yours was not sprayed with pesticides or chemical colorants before it was cut down. The last thing you want for the holidays is to accidently bring more harmful pesticides into your home. The easiest way to ensure this is to visit an organic tree farm, many of which are listed on the websites, Green Promise and Natural Baby Mama.
Avoid Single-Use Wrapping Paper
There are few things more wasteful around Christmas than single-use, throw-away wrapping paper. If you simply must use it, opt for paper made from recycled materials and either save the paper to reuse again next year or recycle it. Alternatively, you can use and save gift bags year after year or creatively wrap your gifts in old magazine pages or newspapers that you already have lying around the house.
Build Activities into Your Christmas Festivities
In many families, Christmas Day is a very sedentary day filled with eating, gifting, and sitting around. Plan some activities into your Christmas to help everyone on your guest list be healthier. Good options include going for a walk around the neighborhood after your big meal, playing a game of football in the backyard, or signing up for a “Santa shuffle” 5K run that benefits a charity.
Serve Organic and Locally Grown Foods
Make organic fruits and vegetables and locally grown foods a priority this year for the sake of your health and for the environment. You’ll be doing your guests a favor by not serving a side of pesticides with your festive holiday dishes while also supporting local farmers and reducing the carbon emissions from vehicles needed to transport produce long distances.
Eat More Fruits and Less Candy
Another healthy tip for the holiday season is to focus your sweet tooth on more fruits and less candy. This is easier said than done, but make a point to replace chocolates and cookies with fresh cherries, pomegranates, lychees, and dried fruits on serving trays as much as possible.
Reduce Holiday Season Stress
There is no need for the holidays to be stressful because this is meant to be a time of enjoying quality time with the people you love. Forget about finding the perfect gift, serving the perfect meal, or having a perfectly decorated house. Perfection is not the same as happiness, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor by simply relaxing, slowing down, and enjoying the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the season.
Recycle Your Tree at the End of the Season
Far too many Christmas trees end up in landfills at the end of the season, but these old trees can be very useful if you know what to do with them. For example, old Christmas trees can be used to create mulch and woodchips for yards and parks, as well as help stabilize streambanks and preserve wildlife habitats. Many municipalities have tree recycling programs that run the couple weeks after Christmas, so check your local news for details. In some places, local boy scout troops will pick up and recycle trees for a small donation that supports their organization.