Hello and Happy Holidays homeowner! It’s the most beautiful time of the year, but it’s also the coldest time of the year. We here at Awnings And More wish everyone an amazing holiday season. 

As amazing as the holidays are, they can also create quite a bit of waste with all the wrapping paper and various other holiday traditions.

That’s why, for those of you interested in making your holidays a little greener, we’ve compiled some helpful tips on doing just that.

1. Buy less. 

While children love Christmas for all the shiny new things, most adults tend to appreciate gifts that show thoughtfulness rather than being the shiny new object they saw in a commercial. So, unless it’s some kind of purely practical gift that can really be used, spend some time on more thoughtful gifts that show you care and put some effort into the gift giving process. 

A good way to do this is to put all the adults’ names into a hat and draw names to buy gifts for rather than having everyone buy gifts for each other. It cuts down on the amount of shopping that has to be done and puts a focus more on making the gift special. 

For more thoughtful gifts, consider things like service gift cards or memberships, event tickets, antiques and collectibles, homemade treats, plants, refurbished gold jewelry, used items that still hold a lot of value (musical instruments, for example).

2. Go with local and recycled gifts.

Look for things that are made locally and it’s even better if they are recycled or refurbished in some way. You can find these kinds of gifts at craft markets, usually. 

Toys and gadgets are often associated with batteries, but batteries are often discarded improperly and make their way into the waste stream. So, try to buy toys and items that don’t require batteries. 

3. Limit lighting.

People love to go all out at Christmas and there is no doubt the lighting displays are amazing, but they are also energy intensive. You can help by limiting your lights and using more energy efficient LED lights for both indoor and outdoor lighting purposes. There are even outdoor solar powered lights to consider. Don’t forget to turn off your lights when you go to bed. A timer is a great way to “set and forget” your lights so they handle the turning off and turning on by themselves. 

4. Go live.

It may sound counterintuitive, but live trees are a better option than “permanent” trees. That’s because as permanent trees age, they become less attractive with use and people are bound to replace them at some point. So, the term “permanent” becomes a bit of a misnomer. They do indeed last a long, long time, but usually it’s in landfills when people get tired of them and want to switch to a new tree. 

Real Christmas trees, on the other hand, are farmed locally, replanted regularly and contribute to improving air quality as they grow. Also, you can reuse a real Christmas tree with some care and planning. Buy a small tree in a large pot and it can be used for two or three Christmases in a row. When it comes time to repot it, you just need to move it to a larger pot to keep using it. 

If you have room in your yard, you can also replant the tree outside when it has outgrown its use as a Christmas tree. Regardless of whether you get a one-time use tree or you keep it for a few years and decide not to plant it outside, when you are finished with your Christmas tree, take it to a place where it can be mulched and repurposed for something else. 

5. Wrap it right.

Wrapping paper is especially wasteful, but you can buy recycled wrapping paper or even try reusing wrapping paper. Try wrapping your gifts using as little tape as you can and avoid the shiny, metallic wrapping paper, as it is not easily reused or recycled. 

There is also a whole world of alternatives out there, including newspaper funny pages, old maps, old calendars and basically any type of paper that is currently not being used and looks nice. 

These are just a few ways that you can make the holidays a little greener. But, if you are heading out of town for the holidays, you will want to make sure your home is secure. For that, there are rolling shutters. Contact us for all your shutter and awning needs.