1. Consider second-hand gifting.
We’re not talking garage sale leftovers here, but things like vintage clothing and jewelry, antiques, and gorgeous old books. If you feel odd about it, ask the recipient ahead of time if they’re open to receiving used items as gifts (61 percent of folks asked that very question in a recent survey conducted on behalf of the resale app Mercari answered with a resounding “yes”). Also, be sure to put “used preferred” on your own Christmas list if you’re so inclined. Other options: Master an indulgent recipe (truffles, anyone?) and give boxes of treats instead of gifts. Or, make a climate-friendly donation in someone’s name to an organization like The Nature Conservancy or the Food Recovery Network.
2. Swear off wrapping paper this season
. Instead, use material you already have around your home, such as newspaper comics, old road maps, or scraps of leftover fabric. Have kids? Task them with decorating all those paper shopping bags you have hanging around. If you must use commercial gift wrap, opt for a gift bag and include a note asking the recipient to reuse it. Here’s why it’s so important: A large portion of the estimated 25 percent extra trash that is tossed out during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is composed of gift wrap, since a large percentage of wrapping paper (including anything decorated with foil or glitter) can’t be recycled.
3. Always turn off your holiday lights before you go to bed.
Consider putting them on a timer if you have trouble remembering. When you take them down, store them with care so you won’t have to buy new ones next year. And when you do need to replace your lights, choose LEDs, which use up to 70 percent less energy than the old-school incandescent ones. Not only do Christmas lights in the U.S. require a lot of energy—enough to power more than 800,000 homes for an entire year—but the light pollution they produce at night can be harmful to wildlife.
National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF)
New York Times