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Easy Ways to Green Your Holidays

Christmas is just five days away! I love Christmas and all the celebrations that go along with it, but I have also become more aware over the past few years of all the excess and waste that is created around the holidays. In America, an additional one million tons of waste is created each holiday season!

So, our family has made an effort to make simple changes that really help to reduce the overall impact of our holiday celebrations on the earth. And I love to get my kids involved and teach them that the holidays are an important time as ever to think about ways that we can reduce, reuse and recycle.

Maybe you’re all finished with your shopping and preparing, maybe you’re not (like me!). But either way, you can include your kids in helping you take a few easy steps to make your holiday celebrations a little greener this year.

Here are six easy ways to green your holidays.

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  • Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping 1 of 8
    Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping
    There are lots of ways to wrap gifts that create less waste. Consider wrapping with newspaper, the comics, or brown packing paper, either plain or decorated by your kids. All of these can be recycled after the presents are opened, unlike most traditional wrapping paper. Or go even greener by wrapping in reusable fabric gift bags, tied with a pretty ribbon.
    Find even more green gift wrapping ideas.
  • Make Homemade Gifts 2 of 8
    Make Homemade Gifts
    My kids and I made some wonderful sugar scrubs over the weekend to give as gifts. There's still plenty of time to make homemade gifts for the people left on your list, or even as a little something extra for someone special.
    Here is a great list of eleven easy homemade gifts!
  • Give Gifts that Give Back 3 of 8
    Give Gifts that Give Back
    I believe it's important to start teaching kids that it is better to give than receive from a young age. One way to do that is to give gifts to people in need around the world. We love to look through the Heifer International and World Vision gift catalogs and pick out something to give to someone in need in honor of our extended family.
    Check out Heifer International's Gift Catalog
  • Give Experience Gifts 4 of 8
    Give Experience Gifts
    For kids that already have more toys than they know what to do with, consider giving, or asking extended family to give, experience gifts like an annual zoo pass, dance or music lessons, or tickets to an event. You will create fun and amazing memories with your children, and there's no waste or clutter to worry about!
    Photo source: Jim, the photographer/flickr
  • Decrease Disposables 5 of 8
    Decrease Disposables
    If you're hosting a holiday party or get together, plan to use the real thing, instead of disposable — real plates, silverware, glasses, and cloth napkins. Have your kids help you with the dishes afterward, they love to help.
    Photo source: sebrenner/flickr
  • Reuse and Recycle After the Celebration 6 of 8
    Reuse and Recycle After the Celebration
    Once all the presents have been opened, have your kids help you gather up everything that can be reused to be kept until next year — including gift boxes, tissue paper, gift bags, ribbons and bows. Also separate any of the paper or cardboard that can be recycled and make sure in gets into the recycling bin instead of the trash.
    Photo source: WoogyChuck/flickr
  • Give Green Gifts 7 of 8
    Give Green Gifts
    If you're still doing some last minute shopping for the kiddos, be sure to check out these great green toys for toddlers.
    The Best Green Gifts for Toddlers
  • Make Going Green a Family Tradition 8 of 8
    Make Going Green a Family Tradition
    If you and your kids enjoy greening your holidays, consider making green changes in your home and family life all year long!
    Check out these ten easy ways to go green with your toddler.

How do you go green during your family’s holiday celebrations? Not done with your holiday shopping? Check out these ways to feel good about giving!

Read more from Emily on Live Renewed!

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Top photo source: HikingArtist.com/flickr

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