Frosty the Greenman

January 9, 2009
By Lara Gartner, Decatur, GA

Christmas is the greenest holiday. The trees are green, garland is green, even one of the Christmas colors is green. So why are so few people environmentally green on this holiday? People buy fake trees, use and throw out cards and wrapping paper like it’s toilet paper, and use Christmas lights that are energy inefficient and could potentially burn your house down. That’s not very smart. Instead, we should be replanting our real trees after the holiday, conserving and reusing wrapping paper and cards, and use energy efficient LED Christmas lights.

To me, the only point of having a Christmas tree is to be able to smell the most inviting and homey aroma ever (besides apple pie, of course). With a fake tree, you don’t get to smell it and, despite what you may think, you are not being very eco friendly. Sure, you may only have to buy one in your entire life, but when you do eventually throw them out, they take a very long time to decompose. Also, factories are a major source of carbon emissions and produce fake trees. Every year, we buy a real tree and then throw it in our backyard to decompose and fertilize the soil. There are even companies now that will come around and pick up your tree and plant it somewhere a tree is desperately needed. But for you savvy green-goers, there are also trees you can buy with the roots still attached in a bag so you can plant it after Christmas. If you must have a fake tree however, just don’t buy a pink one.

Every child loves to frantically shred open their presents on Christmas day, but if you stopped and thought about it, you could actually use that paper again. Tons of wrapping paper is just ripped up and thrown out, but if we reused all the wrapping paper, there would be a lot less to buy for next year and we would be saving space in the landfills for those hideous plastic trees once people came to their senses. Another way to save wrapping paper is to use gift bags, but you just have to make sure that the person you give it to will save the bag for another present. I try to put as many presents as possible in bags that people previously gave me because it saves wrapping paper and I may just get my next present in that same bag. So just remember to slow your roll while opening presents and to keep those bags.
Unless you are a compulsive hoarder, your Christmas cards do not make it to the New Year. Instead, after you read a card, cut out the cute pictures or cut out the unwritten on part of a card and use it to label presents or to use as a one sided Christmas card next year. You’d be surprised at the minimal amount of cards you would have to buy next year.
If there was something that you used yearly that could potentially burn your house down, wouldn’t you get rid of it or change it? Well, regular Christmas lights are a huge issue when it comes to sources of fires during the holiday season. Also, they use a lot more energy than LED lights. LED lights also last longer and do not whatsoever put your house in harms way for a fire. Besides being lazy, I don’t see any reason why anybody should still have regular Christmas lights.
While everyone is thinking about a “white Christmas,” there is still room in the back of your mind for a little green. Any little bit helps and at this point, we need all the help we can get to save our planet. Christmas is the time for giving and receiving so give your planet a present for once.

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