Today on Planet 100: A Guide to a Greener Holiday Season (Video News)

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The stockings were hung, by the chimeny with care, in a manner Mother Nature would be able to bear. OK, maybe that's not how the traditional Night Before Christmas ryhme goes but, like the climate, times are changing. Poorly crafted, good-for-a-season, decorations are out, replaced by LED lights and an appreciatiation of heirlooms.Giving experiences instead of things—and even "donation in your name" gifts—have not only shed their stigma, they are actually becoming fashionable.

What this means is that this year, more than any in recent memory, it's possible to celebrate with full holiday cheer without sacrificing environmental scruples.

The Hottest Gifts in TreeHugger's 2010 Holiday Gift Guide (Video)

And, because the holidays are about more that decking the halls and visions of dancing sugar plums, Planet 100 has rounded up the top five tips for celebrating a sustainable holiday season:

1. Trees

Nothing heralds the start of the silly season like a Christmas Tree, but what's the best option? And is it ever okay to fake it?

While fake trees are reusable, all plastic trees eventually end up in the landfill. The sustainable choice is to get a live potted tree that you can plant outside afterwards, or consider renting one. With a real tree there's the added advantage of it smelling like Christmas, rather than the inside of a crocs store.

2. Cards

Store bought cards are convenient but they use up an enormous amount of resources - 300,000 trees are cut down to make Christmas cards in the US alone.

That's enough to fill a football field 10 stories high. Better choices include making your own cards out of recycled card stock or children's artwork or sending holiday cheers via email. But if store bought is your only option, opt for cards made from recycled content.

3. Gifts

Unfortunately Christmas has become synonymous with consumerism, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Consider giving rather than receiving by volunteering at a homeless shelter. Or if you do want to bestow your loved ones with a little something buy something second-hand, locally made or sustainably made. Re-gifting is okay too. But avoid buying cheap plastic crap made in China.

4. Lighting

5. Recycle / Re-use

We may have laughed at Granny for saving old wrapping paper, but turns out she was a smart lady.

You can even iron out old paper to avoid the creases. Anyone lucky enough to receive a flat screen tv, laptop or other electronic equipment should follow proper recycling guidelines for their old models, not send them to the landfill. And remember Christmas trees can be recycled too.

Read more about green holidays:
TreeHugger Gift Guide: Low-Impact Luxury for High-Impact Giving
How to Go Green: Holidays
11 Best Holiday Movies (and Their Subtle Green Messages)
Green Christmas Gifts to Make Yourself at the Last Minute
10 Holiday Decorations You Can Make from Recyclables

Tags: Planet Green


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