10 Ways to Have a Green Holiday

green holiday

Green Holiday? You can use these 10 tips to benefit the environment in the season of giving.

  1. Before you buy, take inventory of what you already have. Don’t create clutter by purchasing more wrapping paper and ribbon than you will use. Purchase only what you need and can recycle.
  1. Carry reusable bags when shopping. Use the bags you carry your groceries in or an old paper shopping bag from a department store. That way you will create less waste.
  1. Consider buying consumable gifts, such as tickets to a show, a gift card to a favorite restaurant, or something edible. These gifts don’t create clutter.
  1. Shop on the web for holiday gifts. This will save you time running from store to store and fighting the crowds. Many sites offer free shipping if you shop early and web-only sales, so you can get some great deals.
  1. Buy or make your own cards made with recycled paper. Also, after the holidays, don’t forget to recycle the cards you received. You could also forgo paper cards and send an electronic card.
  1. Avoid buying bubble wrap. It is not recyclable. However, if you receive some this season, save it and reuse it. Instead of bubble wrap, pack your gifts in the shredded paper you accumulate when you clear out your files.
  1. Decorate your tree with natural decorations, like pine cones, strings of popcorn, or homemade treats.
  1. Recycle your old, broken holiday lights. Local Ace Hardware stores and HolidayLEDS.com have light recycling programs.
  1. Consider buying rechargeable batteries and a battery charger for all those holiday toys and gadgets. Used batteries are considered hazardous waste.
  1. When the holidays come to an end, put your tree out at the curb for your trash collector to pick up for recycling. If that service is not provided, bring your tree to your local recycling center. To find a location near you, visit Christmastree.org and enter your zip code.

Use these 10 tips to benefit the environment in the season of giving. Click To Tweet

For additional tips and resources on how to reduce the impact on the environment for a more GREEN holiday, visit earth911.org.

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Janet Barclay on December 6, 2021 at 9:08 am

    I’ve usually felt like buying gift cards was a bit of a cop-out, as if I couldn’t be bothered to look for something the recipient would enjoy having. However, this weekend I asked my daughter-in-law what she and my son would like for Christmas, and she explained that they really don’t want or need anything and that for them it’s all about the kids. I’ve already got presents for the kids to unwrap, but instead of getting something for the parents, I’ve decided to get a Ticketmaster gift card they can use to take the kids to a game or for a date night for themselves, with some cash on the side for spending money at the event.

    • Janet Schiesl on December 7, 2021 at 7:46 am

      That’s a great idea for music and sports fans. A night out at an event can get pricey, so I bet they will appreciate it.

  2. Janet Barclay on December 6, 2021 at 9:10 am

    I was all set to send out a lot of Christmas cards this year, but when I looked at the cost of the cards plus postage, considered the environmental impact and how much anyone would care if I sent them one, I only sent out a handful and am going to send e-greetings to everyone else. You are an inspiration!

  3. Seana Turner on December 6, 2021 at 9:21 am

    I carry around a reusable bag that is tiny and folds up into a little pouch. That way, I always have a bag ready. It even has a clip for those who don’t have a bag.. could hang from a belt loop. Simple and handy. Maybe a good stocking stuffer idea!

    • Janet Schiesl on December 7, 2021 at 7:44 am

      I have those too! I love them. I keep a few in my glove compartment in my car, so they are always ready when I’m out but don’t take up much space.

  4. Linda Samuels on December 6, 2021 at 10:12 am

    What awesome tips! I love the idea of clutter-free and environmentally-friendly gifts for the holiday season and ALL seasons. Those are my gifts (to receive) of choice, especially as I’ve been in the letting go of excess mode for a while now. I don’t need or want more stuff. But gifts that involve time- like spending time with family, going to the theatre, or exploring are much appreciated. Pampering gifts are great, too, like gift certificates to spas.

    Such a great tip about recycling non-working Christmas lights at Ace Hardware stores or the other recycling program you linked to. Brilliant!

    • Janet Schiesl on December 7, 2021 at 7:42 am

      Thanks Linda. I love to receive clutter-free gifts that I don’t normally buy for myself, like nice body butter or face wash. I love it, but never want to spend the money on myself. I open and use it right away and it helps get me through the bleak winter months by lifting my spirits.

  5. Sabrina Quairoli on December 6, 2021 at 10:53 am

    Great tips! I’m all about clutter-free holidays! We reuse holiday bags repeatedly over the years for our family. I think I bought some bags about three years ago. =) Thanks for sharing!

  6. Stacey Agin Murray on December 6, 2021 at 12:18 pm

    We’ve been using rechargeable batteries in our household since our kids were little–we were going through so many batteries! Now our kid’s toys are smaller and boy does that Xbox eat up batteries. We have two rechargeable battery systems–both AA–and I know we’ve saved a ton of money and a small slice of the environment by using them. They come in handy when my wireless keyboard and mouse need them, too. Great actionable green holiday ideas!

    • Janet Schiesl on December 7, 2021 at 7:38 am

      Good tips Stacey. Rechargeable batteries aren’t the best, but we keep trying. We recently bought some battery-operated candles. The batteries didn’t even last one day. Needless to say, the candles are not lit all the time now.

  7. Melissa Gratias on December 6, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you for the tips about Christmas light recycling. There’s an Ace Hardware right around the corner!

    • Janet Schiesl on December 7, 2021 at 7:35 am

      Oh that makes it even easier to recycle!

  8. Lucy Kelly on December 6, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    “Instead of bubble wrap, pack your gifts in the shredded paper you accumulate when you clear out your files.” This is BRILLIANT, Janet!!

    • Janet Schiesl on December 7, 2021 at 7:33 am

      Thanks Lucy. I’ve also used my shredded paper as fire starters for my fire pit and tried it in my compost bin. It didn’t compost so well but was great in the fire pit.

  9. Jill Katz on December 7, 2021 at 8:21 am

    These are great tips! Thank you for allowing us to reflect on how to be kinder to the planet during the holiday season. I love the idea of sending e-greetings instead of Holiday cards. It’s much easier and environmentally friendly. There is also an Amazon option where you can select a date when all your purchases get shipped together. This way it saves on packaging. I started to do this.

    • Janet Schiesl on December 7, 2021 at 10:34 am

      Thanks Jill. It takes just a little change in thinking to be more green. Small steps, right?

  10. Julie Bestry on December 7, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    These are all easy and actionable ways to make the holiday a little more green without feeling bogged down with obligation. I love Seana’s fold-up reusable bag idea, and it reminds me that while I HATE canvas bags, I also have those little back-pack style nylon bags that fold down to a tiny square. I don’t use bubble wrap, but I do save those little plastic balloon bubble things Amazon uses to pack everything and always recycle those.

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