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5 Tips for a Greener Christmas

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Minimize Holiday Cards and Gift Wrapping


If each of us sent one less card this holiday season, we'd save 50,000 cubic yards of paper. Update and pare down your holiday mailing list, and you'll save time and money. Consider making your own cards, with help from the kids, and send them just to special friends and relatives. Better yet, send e-cards whenever possible. When January arrives, donate the cards you have received to a preschool, where kids can use them for fun craft projects.

Gift wrapping generates a colossal amount of waste each year. A radical approach to this problem is to turn the gift giving into a treasure hunt: Instead of wrapping the kids' gifts, hide them, and then plant clues as to where they're hidden. A more traditional approach would be to make your own wrapping paper from newspapers, paper bags, old maps, or the kids' art work. Set the kids up with a potato stamp or paints and brushes, and let them be creative. If you insist on buying wrapping paper, look for gift wrap that is made from recycled paper.

Don't bother to wrap oversized gifts at all -- a big bow will do just fine. And for all other gifts, consider dispensing with ribbon altogether.

Once all the gifts are unwrapped, save as much of the wrapping and ribbon as possible and use it again. If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet!

Next: Rethink Lights and Decorations

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