Pretty lights, trees, glittering ornaments, and brightly wrapped packages are all signs of the holiday season ahead. For some people, they are essential. As we begin to look for more ways to live greener lives, though, these things become a bit of a concern for many families.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe good news is that you don\u2019t have to give up all the sights, sounds, and scents of the season in order to have holidays that are as green as your Christmas tree. In fact, you can have an even greener Christmas tree this year. We\u2019ll show you how \u2013 along with several other things you can do to make this holiday season greener.\r\nHoliday Homemaking\r\nBefore the decorations come out of their careful packaging, it\u2019s time for us to do a bit of serious cleaning and updating to the home. It is part preparation for guests, and part of the process for many families as the decorating begins. These simple solutions will make the homemaking a little bit greener this time around.\r\n\r\nUse Natural Cleaning Products\r\n\r\nOddly enough there are many natural products you probably have in your home that are excellent for helping to get your home sparkling clean. Vinegar, baking soda, water, and lemons are fundamental necessities for anyone interested in natural cleaning. They can be used alone or in combination with one another to tackle different tasks around your home \u2013 including things like deodorizing, scrubbing, and even eliminating tough coffee and\/or tea stains.\r\n\r\nThere are also many natural product companies around that sell products designed for cleaning naturally. Some great companies that specialize in natural cleaning products include:\r\n\r\n\tSeventh Generation\r\n\tThe Honest Company\r\n\t Meyer\u2019s Clean Day\r\n\tMethod\r\n\r\nChoosing greener cleaning products makes a difference for the planet, and helps to clear the air inside your home.\r\n\r\nPurchase Sheets and Bedding that are Planet Friendly\r\n\r\nThere are all kinds of materials that are excellent choices for sheets and bed linens. They are made with planet friendly products and methods. These include materials like:\r\n\r\n\tBamboo\r\n\tLatex\r\n\tEgyptian Cotton\r\n\tOrganic Cotton\r\n\t100 Percent Cotton\r\n\r\nThese are great for use in guest bedrooms during the holidays, and can help you do your part for the planet.\r\n\r\nRecycle and Compost\r\n\r\nThe holidays offer many opportunities to recycle paper products and goods and composting is a given. Nature.org reminds us that it helps to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills, and anything that does that is good for the planet and the air we breathe.\r\n\r\nAnother great thing about continuing this tradition is that doing so while guests are around helps to show others just how easy it is to work into the daily routine, and educate them about the good it does for the planet. You can even recruit children visiting during the holidays to help for a couple of extra dollars or even the promise of extra holiday treats.\r\nGive Greener Gifts\r\nThere are many different ways you can go about giving gifts that are greener. Some of them may surprise you. These are a few favorites you might want to consider.\r\n\r\nGive Handmade Gifts\r\n\r\nThe gifts do not need to be made from your own hands to be a perfectly green gift choice. There are many crafting sites online, like Etsy.com, GlobalGoodsPartners.org, and iCraftGifts.com where you can purchase handmade gifts for practically anyone on your list. Don\u2019t forget to support local craftsmen at community art shows, flea markets, and holiday craft expos. Supporting local artisans means that money stays in the community and reduces the carbon footprints of the gifts you buy.\r\n\r\nThere are many beautiful options to choose from and the gifts themselves often feel more personal because they are handmade.\r\n\r\nAdopt an Attitude of Less is More\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s easy to get caught up in the spirit of giving. That\u2019s a good thing to do. Sometimes, focusing on quality over quantity can make for a much more meaningful holiday experience for everyone. Instead of giving a ton of gifts, try to make each gift memorable instead.\r\n\r\nConsider Re-Gifting\r\n\r\nThe Sierra Club explains that re-gifting is a great way to allow gifts that may be unwanted by you to keep on giving. The fact that a gift doesn\u2019t appeal to you or an item is no longer useful to you, doesn\u2019t mean that it won\u2019t be useful or wanted by someone on your holiday shopping list \u2013 or for gifts you offer to community charity events.\r\n\r\nBuy Fair Trade Gifts for the Holidays\r\n\r\nFair trade items go beyond being earth-friendly products. When you purchase fair trade items, you\u2019re ensuring that the people who labor to make, farm, or produce the products are paid fair living wages too. Everyone wins when fair trade items like coffee, chocolate, produce, sweeteners, clothing, tea, and spices. FairTradeUSA.org offers a nice guide for shopping fair trade products.\r\n\r\nDraw Names for Gifts\r\n\r\nBuying fewer gifts for extended family members helps to ease the cost burden of Christmas, while eliminating the wastefulness of gifts that aren\u2019t spot on perfect for family members you don\u2019t know quite as well. The same can be done for circles of friends or at the office.\r\n\r\nAmong close friends and family you could agree to go out and have a great meal together instead of buying gifts for each other this year. EarthEasy.com recommends the policy of drawing names for adult gifts while keeping children below a certain age on the list everyone to buy gifts for.\r\nDecorating for the Holidays\r\nHoliday decorations are lovely to look at and an important holiday tradition for most families. The good news is that you don\u2019t have to give them up in order to enjoy a greener holiday. You may need to make a few adjustments though. These are all great places to begin.\r\n\r\nConsider a Live Christmas Tree\r\n\r\nThis is a better choice for people who prefer to wait a little closer to the main event to decorate their trees, but is a real boon for the planet. Once you remove the decorations, simply plant the tree. The Daily Press suggests that the trend of living Christmas trees is growing.\u00a0The article also explains proper procedures for planting the tree. People who suffer from allergies may choose to decorate the trees outside, and use other decorations inside the home.\r\n\r\nUse Mother Nature\u2019s Bounty for Decorating\r\n\r\nNature provides many great bounties for decorating homes for the holidays. Many of them are closely associated with the holidays in your hearts and minds already. Things like pine cones, sticks, strawberries, and more can be used for decorating trees, mantles, and even gifts.\r\n\r\nSwitch to LED Lights\r\n\r\nLED lights put off less heat making them a reduced fire risk, and they cost less to operate because they require less energy. This makes them a real winner for homes that use a lot of lights during the holiday season. Some might even say they produce much brighter and more beautiful lights, too. If you want to take things one step further, considering using solar powered LED lights for exterior holiday lighting.\r\n\r\nInvest in Timers\r\n\r\nThis is a good idea for all holiday lights from the Christmas tree to garlands and all lights in between. Using timers means that lights do not come on before a certain time each night, and will always go out at a certain time, too. This helps to reduce the electricity used to light up your home during the holidays, and that\u2019s a great thing for the planet. Another benefit of using timers is that no one knows whether you\u2019re home for the holidays or not.\r\n\r\nUse Natural Fragrances\r\n\r\nAn important part of decorating the home for the holidays is to capture the scents of the season. Fragrance is an important tool for evoking memories and eliciting emotional responses. Use natural fragrances like simmering pots with orange slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves, or cranberries and vanilla to bring in the season. Even placing a basket of pine tree branches and pine cones in the room can make the area smell like the holidays.\r\n\r\nAnother option is to use essential oils and diffusers. Essential oils are natural products that produce an impressive amount of fragrance. Find the fragrance combination that best speaks of holiday\u2019s past to you, and let that be your scent for the season.\r\nGift Wrapping Gone Green\r\nWrapping gifts is one of the most important holiday traditions. Commercial wrapping paper is often a one-and-done type of deal. You use it once, and it goes to the recycling bin (as a best choice) or the garbage collection bin once the festivities have ended. These clever tactics will have your gifts shining this season, and you\u2019ll feel great about the way you\u2019ve wrapped them and what it means for the planet.\r\n\r\nReduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose\r\n\r\nYou\u2019ll be amazed at the wide range of everyday items you can repurpose into holiday gift wrapping. Last year\u2019s ribbons, bows, bags, and tags, for instance, are great items to begin with. Doing this alone does two wonderful things for the planet. One: It keeps these items out of landfills \u2013 at least for another holiday season. Two: It conserves the resources that were used to create them in the first place since replacements aren\u2019t necessary.\r\n\r\nThink Outside the Holiday Wrapping Roll\r\n\r\nYour gift wrap doesn\u2019t need to begin with holiday scenes or bright Christmas colors like reds and greens. Simple newspaper can be recycled for use as holiday wrapping, and you can choose the colors you\u2019d like to use. Another great choice is to use the comic pages from your Sunday paper, and leave it as it is. As the holidays approach, there are likely to be holiday themes in the comics that are perfect for gift wrap.\r\n\r\nDecorate, Paint, and Stamp Brown Paper Bags\r\n\r\nMore stores are returning to the standard of brown paper bags instead of plastic. While the outside may be printed with store branding, the inside is often a blank slate that you can convert into a canvas for wrapping gifts, and then decorating the package. Once you\u2019ve stamped, painted, or drawn until your holiday heart is content, you can add a twine made from jute to complete the planet-friendly packaging.\r\n\r\nUse Cloth for Wrapping Presents\r\n\r\nGaiam.com points out that this practice presents a whole new world of gifting and giftwrap opportunities. You can use colorful scarves that are meant to be gifts themselves as wrapping for one option. But you can use any fabric that is the right size for wrapping the gift. One really cute idea is to visit a local thrift store, and buy up their supply of \u201cugly Christmas sweaters\u201d for cutting\u00a0them into squares to use for wrapping. You could also use fabric remnants from Christmas crafting projects. The sky is the limit.\r\n\r\nConsider Greener Options for Holiday Cards and Tags\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s natural to want to share season\u2019s greetings with friends and family near and far. In the past, Christmas cards were the tools of choice for doing just that. Today, though, people are dedicated to making more planet-minded choices about sharing those greetings. Consider including them with recycled cards or gift tags on holiday presents.\r\n\r\nAnother option is to consider plantable gift cards, like those available at ForeverFiances.com. Simply invite the recipient to plant the card after the holidays are over in order to enjoy a nice surprise later. It doesn\u2019t get much greener than this!\r\n\r\nLastly, consider sending e-Greetings this holiday season. Far fewer fossil fuels are used in the process, and the sentiment is just the same. Of course, it\u2019s important to purchase a few card greetings for loved ones who haven\u2019t embraced technology, and may feel a little left out otherwise.\r\n\r\nGoing green for the holidays is far more than a simple state of mind. It\u2019s a matter of choice that does require a little action and creativity, but it doesn\u2019t mean you have to give up the most important traditions and practices in order to achieve it. In fact, you just might discover that your efforts to go greener this holiday season motivates others to do the same in future holiday celebrations.\r\n\r\nHappy Holidays to You and Yours from PlushBeds! \r\nLink to Us!\r\nIf you found this article useful and shareable, please copy and paste the following into the html code of your website or blog: Learn More About Going Green at the <a href"https:\/\/www.plushbeds.com\/blog\/bedding\/how-to-green-your-holiday-season\/">PlushBeds Green Living Blog<\/a>.