You can be festive and eco-friendly at the same time, if you follow these suggestions.
Step 1: Serve heritage meat At holiday dinners, serve heritage meat – meat from animals raised on sustainable or organic farms that comes from less common breeds. Heritage turkeys, pigs, and cows are just a few of the choices available. Most are antibiotic- and hormone-free, plus they're more flavorful.
Step 2: Prepare heirloom crops Use heirloom fruits and vegetables in your side dishes. It will help preserve varieties not mass-produced by industrial farms.
TIP: Visit eatwellguide.org to find farms and markets near you that sell heritage and heirloom foods.
Step 3: Buy local Buy foods and beverages that have been produced locally.
Step 4: Eliminate paper products Eliminate as many paper products as you can: Use cloth napkins; mop up spills with dishcloths; wrap gifts in old newspapers or magazine pages; and send e-cards or recycle last year's holiday cards into postcards.
Step 5: Save energy Save energy by using LED lights on your holiday displays. If you're giving a battery-powered gift, include a rechargeable battery and charger.
Step 6: Green your gifts Green your gift-giving: Give consumables, like food or movie tickets, or a coupon for a personal service; make a charitable donation in your recipient's name; spruce up a thrift-shop find; or give something that helps the environment, like a grocery tote bag.
TIP: Buy your gifts locally to spare the environment the emissions used in shipping.
Step 7: Cut down on gifts Cut down on gifts altogether by agreeing to give only to the children in the family; organizing a Secret Santa, where everyone picks just one person to give a gift to; or suggesting a group outing in lieu of exchanging presents.
FACT: According to one environmentalist, if every American family saved and reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of trimming saved could tie a bow around the planet.