Your Christmas tree shouldn't be the only green thing in your home this season. Read on for tips on crafting a more environmentally-friendly holiday season.
Get a real tree: Not only do the real things help produce oxygen while they're growing, afterward you can either turn them into mulch or, if you get a live tree, replant them. PVC, which most fake trees are made of, has a large carbon footprint during the tree production process, according to PlanetGreen.com.
Dim the lights: Christmas lights are wonderful, but how bright does your house really need to be? Cut back on the display, put your lights on a timer and use LED lights -- not only are they more environmentally friendly, they'll help cut your power bill.
Embrace e-cards: Share the holiday spirit with a virtual card instead of sending one through the mail. If you do still embrace physical cards, choose some from recycled paper.
Give fewer gifts: This doesn't mean you need to be a Scrooge -- just get a little more creative. Give homemade food, tickets to a concert, gift certificates to a spa or a donation to a favorite cause in the receiver's name. If you still want to put a more traditional gift under the tree, buy one wrapped in as little packaging as possible, recommends PlanetGreen.com.
Get creative with gift wrap: Traditional wrapping paper takes a very long time to decompose in the landfill, according to GreenLivingTips.com. Instead, make your own using decorated paper bags, newspapers or old calendar pictures; place gifts in a basket; or wrap your gifts using part of the gift itself -- for instance, PlanetGreen.com recommends wrapping kitchen supplies in matching dish towels.
Give the gift of power: If you're buying a battery-operated toy, include rechargeable batteries and a charger with the gift, advises GreenLivingTips.com.
Go natural with decorations: Hang gingerbread men, popcorn strings, flowers and pinecones on your tree, and top it off with a dusting of fake snow by using baking soda or cotton, suggests GreenLivingTips.com.
Green your table: Set your holiday table with cloth napkins and reusable tableware, and after the food has been served, only run the dishwasher when it's completely full, advises the Environmental Protection Agency.
Skip plastic bags: Bring your own cloth bags while shopping for gifts, and decline a bag for really small or big items, suggests the EPA.
Look for quality: Buy gifts that are well-made and sturdy. If something is made well, it can be used longer than a flimsier item, according to the EPA.