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Give a Gift to the Environment this Holiday Season

Family & Caregiving

Together, let's go green this holiday, and I don't just mean the color. Here are my five tips on giving the environment a gift this holiday. Please feel free to share yours here too!

1. Shop Local. Supplying your dinner table with food grown or made nearby saves energy (eliminating transportation), offers a healthier meal (the less hands it goes through, the better) and supports local businesses. Buying gifts from you neighborhood craft shop is also great for the community, and often more unique!

2. Reuse. Have a contest with your family or friends. See who can make the best ornament with things found at home. Make decorations with items around your house; you're never too old for stringing popcorn or cheerios for the tree or making macaroni wreaths. Wrap gifts in used newspapers or magazines.

3. Use your dishwasher. Despite what you might think, using your dishwasher actually saves more water then hand-washing dishes (if you skip rinsing and only run full loads), especially if it's an Energy Star model. For an added eco-bonus, turn off the dry option and get out those cute holiday dish towels.

4. Plant a tree, your tree. If you opt for a real Christmas Tree, don't just throw it out after the holidays, plant it in the backyard. Or if you contact your city sanitation department, they will often pick up the tree and chip it to make mulch.

5. Use LED lights to decorate your house; they use 90-95 percent less energy than old-fashioned incandescents, and shine on for a lot longer.

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