I love the holiday season. Some of my favorite winter holiday activities are baking cookies, listening to seasonal music, spending time with my family and decorating my house.
I don’t usually like to start decorating until after Thanksgiving. But I know some people like to start decorating — or at least preparing — and stores often have stuff out for Christmas as early as Nov. 1, so I thought I’d get a jump start on tips for “greening” your holidays.
One really simple way to make your holidays more eco-friendly is to check your lights. If your light strings have normal incandescent light bulbs, exchange them for light strings with LEDs. Some stores will even give you a discount on a purchase of LEDs when you bring in your old lights.
LEDs use 90 percent less energy, which not only saves you 90 percent of the money you would have spent on electricity, but is also better for the environment. LEDs also don’t get as hot as traditional lights, which means they are safer — especially if you are putting them on a real tree.
And there's even more good stuff about LEDs: they use plastic instead of glass, which makes them safer to use around kids and pets, and you don't have to worry about a single burned-out bulb darkening the entire strand. And LEDs last up to 100,000 hours, meaning fewer replacement bulbs, if you ever need to replace them at all.
Another great way to make your celebrations more environmentally friendly is to prepare food that hasn’t traveled very far to get to your table.
The farther food has to travel to make it to you, the more gas it took and the larger it’s carbon footprint. It’s great to buy locally because you are helping out the local economy and making sure that your food has a smaller carbon footprint.
There are places nearby to get locally grown and raised food, including one place just over the Garrard County line off Highway 34 called Marksbury Farm Market. It's about 10 minutes from the edge of Danville. Marksbury has locally raised meats as well as teas, breads, vegetables, milk, honey and more.
It’s also possible to be environmentally responsible when giving gifts to people.
There are many wrapping papers on the market now that are made from recycled paper.
Another, even more environmentally friendly option is using cloth bags for wrapping gifts. You can buy holiday bags or make them yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, but it could be if you wanted.
It could be as easy as taking a couple of pieces of fabric and sewing them into a pillowcase shape and then cutting another piece of fabric to tie around the opening once the present is inside.
If you have environmentally friendly holiday tips you would like to share, please e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I might share them in a future column.