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Creating a green Christmas

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Christmas joy is everywhere. Houses are decorated from top to bottom with lights, hangings and Christmas trees. Presents fill the empty spaces, and warm scents fill the air. Christmas is magical for both children and adults alike; they love discovering that perfect gift.

The day after Christmas, though, things are quite different. For many people, the fun is over. All that remains is the cleanup. Without much thought, garbage bins and dumpsters are quickly filled to the brim. The sight is heartbreaking.

Trees, once so full of life, are now tossed away. They have served their purpose. Up until yesterday, rolls of wrapping paper and boxes contained wonderful presents. Now the wrapping is simply wasting space.

Can this wasteful sight be avoided?

Planning ahead

When planning for Christmas, always look for ways to recycle. Decorations are not tossed out after the Christmas craze; they are carefully stored away and brought out the following year. Why, then, does this tradition not apply to trees, presents or other trimmings?

Trees, trees everywhere

Christmas trees bring the beauty of outdoors to an indoor environment. Although artificial trees are reused for many years, they often have large carbon footprints since they are made overseas. In addition, many contain PVC, lead or other hazardous chemicals. Real trees are grown on farms nowadays to eliminate the destruction of natural forests. However, these trees are often grown with many pesticides, thus negating many of their environmentally friendly benefits.

What is the best option? Purchase from organic Christmas tree farms, look for potted trees or rent a tree instead. The Living Christmas Tree Company and Los Angeles Plant Rentals provide excellent tree rental service to San Diego and surrounding regions. Pine and Wine Christmas Tree Farm in Ramona has more natural practices, while Mission Hills Nursery in San Diego and Family Christmas Tree Farm in El Cajon offer live potted tree options.

Presents under wraps

Purchase reusable materials instead of wrapping presents with roll after roll of wrapping paper. Gift bags or fabric bags are wonderful options for creating festive packages under the tree. Instead of throwing away a gift bag, fold it down and store it for next year. Designate the largest one as the collector bag, and place all smaller gift bags inside. Colored tissue paper, carefully folded, is easily reused as well. Ensure it does not get excessively torn or ripped when opening gifts. If you are handy with the sewing machine, purchase fabric at a craft store and make your own bags. They last for many years and can be turned into other crafts when retired.

With careful consideration and an eco-friendly attitude, a green Christmas is just around the corner.

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