Fix-It Chick: 10 ways to make the holidays a little (or a lot) greener

When it comes to holiday traditions, making eco-conscious decisions can help your wallet as well as the environment! Here are some easy ways to make the holiday season a little greener.

Step 1: Switch to LED holiday lights. LED lights use up to 90 percent less energy then their incandescent counterparts. As an added bonus, LED lights tend to last so they can be used again year after year.

Step 2: Choose a live Christmas tree, preferably from a local tree farm. Better yet, get permission to chop down an invasive cedar from a neighboring farm for free! Most live trees are grown sustainably, creating jobs, cleaning the air, improving the soil and sheltering many woodland creatures. Artificial trees on the other hand are made from nonrenewable resources, cannot be recycled, do not biodegrade, and are destined to wallow in a landfill someday.

Step 3: Kick the wrapping-paper habit. Skip wrapping altogether or wrap gifts in reusable bags, newspaper, old T-shirts or recycled boxes decorated with leftover paints and art supplies.

Step 4: Kick the gift-buying habit and give gifts of time instead. Shared memories last longer than bobbles from the store. Do something for them or with them. Take them to lunch, clean their gutters, play a board game once a month; the list is endless.

Step 5: Shop local and buy local. Choosing products that are made locally and buying products from local businesses reduces the carbon footprint of the purchase and builds a stronger economic base within the community.

Step 6: Planning a holiday party? Use real dishes and glassware instead of disposable products. Ask people to bring their own place settings if you do not have enough to share. Use cloth napkins and tablecloths — not just on holidays, but year-round too!

Step 7: Consider packaging when making purchasing decisions. Choose items with minimal packaging — especially in the grocery store. Avoid purchasing products packaged in non-recyclable materials. Shopping online? Choose frustration-free packaging when possible.

Step 8: Purchase second-hand decorations instead of new ones. Inventory your decor and make wise purchasing decisions. Share excess with friends and neighbors, or donate it to a local charity.

Step 9: Bring reusable shopping bags and avoid that tempting impulse beverage purchase by filling a water bottle to take with you when running errands.

Step 10: Reduce, recycle and re-gift for a happier, greener holiday!

— Have a home improvement question you want answered by the Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at


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