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Dreaming of snow-white winter holidays? Try going green instead!

While many people wish for a snow-white holiday season, we’ve always been more partial to green. Here are a few ways going green can help you celebrate while helping the environment—and even save a little green along the way.

More lights, less bite

Decorating with lights can make things more festive, but it can also take a bite out of your wallet. Consider swapping your traditional string lights with energy-saving LED holiday lights. LED lights use 90% regular bulbs. As an added safety bonus, they generate only a fraction of the heat produced by their incandescent or halogen counterparts. That means there’s no need to panic if you accidentally leave the lights on overnight.

However, if you’re in the habit of settling in for a long winter’s nap without unplugging, think about using a timer for your holiday lights. They allow you to set the holiday lights to come on when it gets dark and go off around bedtime. That way, you can save energy even while you’re sleeping.

Cozy up

Planning to party in person this year? Let your guests provide the heat! Having more people in your space means more warmth. Take advantage of the temporary temperature bump by turning down the thermostat. If you’re celebrating away from home, be sure to lower the temperature of your thermostat by 10 degrees. Doing so for at least 8 hours a day can save you up to 10% on your energy bills!

To tree or not to tree?

If your holiday celebration includes a tree, you may be wondering whether a real tree or an artificial one is better for the environment. Consider skipping the great debate altogether and opt for an alternative tree this year to help you save money and space in the landfill.

  • Pretty up a house plant. Why should trees have all the fun? Decorate your favorite indoor plants for an easy, low-waste tree alternative.
  • Decorate the great outdoors. Designate an existing tree outside as the centerpiece of your celebration. Be sure to use only decorations that are wildlife-friendly. As an added bonus, you might even leave some tasty treats for your feathered friends.
  • Get crafty. Use household items to create a “tree” out of books, a ladder or even wall art—your imagination is the limit.

Wrap it up

Gift-giving is a big part of winter holiday celebrations. But once the wrapping comes off, it usually heads for a landfill. To reduce waste and save money, look around your house for wrapping paper alternatives. From fabric to newspaper and even potato chip bags, you can reduce, reuse and recycle your way to the perfect present presentation.

Better yet, think about skipping physical gifts altogether. More and more, people are realizing the value of experiences over tangible objects. Museum trips, concert tickets and restaurant gift cards not only make great holiday gifts, but also give you the opportunity to make lasting memories with those you love.

No matter how you celebrate this holiday season, making a few small adjustments to your festivities can reduce the impact on both the environment and your finances—and that’s truly a gift that keeps on giving.

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