Friday evening, I took a break from my Christmas prep to attend the Solstice poetry reading sponsored by our local Land Trust, an agency dedicated to preserving our little corner of the planet.  Communing
with fellow tree huggers and listening to verse inspired by the natural world was a sharp contrast to our society’s lack of environmentalism, especially during the holiday season.  I’ve put together a short list of “green” ideas.  If each of us did JUST ONE of these things, we would save millions of trees and eliminate tons of trash.

Forego cutting down a tree.  If Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a tree, invest in a high-quality faux tree.  Better yet, purchase a live pine (with the root ball wrapped in burlap) and plant it after the holidays.

Consider sending e-cards instead of paper ones.  Or postcards, which are less expensive to mail and don’t require an envelope.

Patronize secondhand shops.  They keep stuff out of landfills and offer quality books, DVDs, toys, clothing, furniture, and more at a fraction of the retail price.  You might find one of those lighted ceramic tabletop trees, like the one your grandmother used to have… another potential solution to the tree dilemma!

Instead of purchasing a new item, have an old one repaired.  When the zipper in my favorite purse went off its track, I paid the local shoe and leather shop to replace it for me.  My purse is now as good as new.

Ask Santa to bring you a reusable coffee mug and carry-out kit (a tote bag with two or three washable leftover-sized containers) and make a New Year’s resolution to use them, instead of throw-away coffee cups and restaurant to-go boxes.

Reuse cardboard shipping boxes and packing materials (like air pockets and bubble wrap) for any packages you need to mail.

Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper.  I’ve wrapped our family’s gifts in the same dozen bags for at least five years.  Our dogs and cats prefer gift bags, paws down, to wrapping paper and Scotch tape.

Gift card holders can be re-used, too.  Leave the inside and envelope blank and write the To: and From: and your message on a slip of paper or a post-it note.

Use a trash bag and a ribbon instead of a sack specially designed for oversized or odd-shaped gifts.  You’ll need one for clean-up anyway.

Have a comment?  Click HERE to share it!


  1. Tippy Gnu December 10, 2017 / 11:30 am

    All great tips. I’d just as soon do without Christmas, myself. I buy enough gifts for people throughout the year, that I see no need to set aside a special month for doing this. I pretty much hate Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan December 10, 2017 / 12:55 pm

      Thanks, Tippy. I love my simplified version of Christmas. I decorate, but not excessively. I send out a newsletter that doubles as a card. I go through my closets and donate excess stuff to Goodwill. I choose tickets off the Share the Joy tree and buy the things they ask for… pajamas, a dollhouse, a cinnamon candle, a gift card for groceries. My gifts to family and friends are largely donations to charities and/or goodies from the kitchen, like homemade cookies or fudge. I deliver a little treat to each of my eight neighbors. I take the opportunity to thank (and tip) the people who take care of us all year… the mailman, the paperboy, the garbage and recycling guys, the library staff, my chiropractor, etc. Best is listening to jazzy Christmas tunes and drinking hot chocolate, maybe spiked with a little Kahlua or Baileys. Don’t be a Grinch, just celebrate the season in whatever way feels right to you. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Tippy Gnu December 10, 2017 / 1:40 pm

        Sounds like you get a lot of enjoyment from the season. I must admit I sometimes get in the spirit of the season too. But I have a lot of admiration for ol’ Ebenezer, as well. His point of view deserves at least some consideration.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Peter Klopp December 10, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    A lot of practical ideas for a Green Christmas! We live out in the country, where a power line strip runs for hundreds of miles. A lot of fir trees grow there that are being cut down every so often by hydro crews to clear the path. That’s where we get our Christmas trees from, a very good alternative for us rural folks. Merry Christmas to you and your family and neighbours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan December 10, 2017 / 10:03 pm

      That’s a great idea, Peter. A win-win. Here, we have a tree pick-up two weeks after Christmas. They get mulched, and the mulch is offered free in spring to the residents of our county. A very merry Christmas to you and yours! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan December 10, 2017 / 10:05 pm

      Thanks, Marissa. Hope your season is bright and joyful. 🙂


  3. Quirky Girl December 10, 2017 / 7:05 pm

    I’m all for a green Christmas! I could never bring myself to chop down a tree when we have a perfectly good artificial tree that doesn’t require any water. As an added bonus, I’m pretty sure dogs are far less likely to lift their legs to an artificial tree. 😝

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan December 10, 2017 / 10:13 pm

      Yeah, Quirky! I stopped putting up a tree years ago… my cats climbed it, knocked it over, broke ornaments, ate the tinsel and made sparkle-poop, etc, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was my Lab puppy lifting his leg to it and whizzing all over the living room carpet. If the tree is real, it’s only a matter of time before the lightbulb goes on over the dog’s head. A few years ago, I bought a Charlie Brown tree at Walgreens. It has, like, eight branches, so it’s real easy to put up and decorate, and fits on a windowsill. Perfect. 🙂


  4. L. T. Garvin, Author December 10, 2017 / 10:03 pm

    I’ve always been against cutting down a beautiful, living tree and killing it for the sake of decoration. My tree for the past several years is a type of “Dr. Seuss” popup tree that unfolds magically and glimmers in true blue tin-foil-ish type decor. It is small, but I like it and the cats don’t mess with it either. You have additionally listed some great tips for reusing items. As I have gotten older, I have become much more non-materialistic. This is a great post, Joan, thanks for reminding us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan December 10, 2017 / 11:02 pm

      Thanks, Lana. I had real trees for years, but always felt they were a nuisance… sticky and sappy, sucking up gallons of water, shedding needles everywhere, endless temptations for our cats and dogs… Now, I like trees the same way I like flowers, alive and attached to the ground. Your Dr. Seuss tree sounds excellent! Is it covered in ping pong pantookas? In the green world, re-using is better than recycling. I take loads of shipping boxes and packing material to our local pottery shop, old magazines go to a swap table at the library, the gym accepts used plastic bags (for people to carry wet swimsuits and towels home in), egg cartons are returned to the farm market, quart yogurt containers are the perfect size for freezing soups and leftovers. As we age, things become much less important. I’ve got my hubby and pets, a warm bed, plenty of food, French press coffee, a notebook and a pen… really, what more could I want? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. T. Garvin, Author December 11, 2017 / 4:23 pm

        I think you have everything you need, right there, Joan. My Dr. Seuss tree, as I call it, doesn’t have the ping pong things but it is long and skinny and just pops right up which reminds me of his work, ha ha. I think you need to pick up your notebook and pen and stop by the Carrot Ranch Literary Community on WordPress and take on some of their writing prompts. Several of my WP friends have been doing these and I surely enjoy reading them. I think you can find it in Google, if not, I’ll send you a link. Happy Holiday Writing, my friend!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan December 11, 2017 / 8:25 pm

        Your tree sounds user-friendly, like an umbrella or something. Thanks for the tip on Carrot Ranch, I’ll check them out. Happy Holidays to you, too, Lana!


    • Just Joan December 12, 2017 / 8:27 pm

      Thanks, KE. Hopefully you can use some of them as you prepare for a greener holiday. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.