NOVEMBER 13, 2013 BY 

This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie, and Communications Manager with You can reach her at: m.hatter12@gmail. com.

“Going green” this holiday season does not have to be difficult. Instead you can keep it simple and eco-friendly with just a few changes to your holiday traditions. Here are some tips to green your holidays:

  1. Think Simple –You don’t have to buy a lot of fancy decorations for the holidays. Instead of buying expensive premade wreaths and plastic doodads you can look around for the natural touches that make the holidays seem festive. Pine boughs, pine cones, holly leaves and berries, fresh cranberries, and more are all natural additions to your holiday décor.
  2. Reuse – Another great thing about the holidays is that they come back every year. Instead of buying disposable decorations why not invest in quality ones that will last you more than one year? That way you can bring them out year after year, you will be consuming less and reducing your contribution to the landfill.
  3. Local Food and Products – Catering for the holidays? Cooking for a crowd, or just for two? Love supporting the local vendors? Sustainability Champions make the effort to “buy local” and “give where you live!” Use local products by shopping with Routt County organizations like these:
  4. Recycle – Christmas trees and other holiday decorations are easy to recycle if you know how. Your holiday trees can be dropped off at Howelsen Hill to be composted.  Your holiday lights that are no longer useful can be recycled at Ace Hardware, Walmart or Natural Grocers.  Make sure to dispose of used batteries safely too: your single use alkaline batteries are safe for your household trash.  However, if you have a button cell, lithium or rechargeable batteries, they need to be recycled at City Hall.
  5. Minimize Gifts – For many of us the holidays are a time we get gifts we will never use. Focus on giving gifts that will last. Donations for charities in the name of the giftee are a great gift that makes everyone feel warm – Colorado Gives Day is December 10th and 12 local organizations are participating; visit and plug in your zip code to find ways to donate or visit our ReTree program page to purchase trees in the name of a loved one that will be planted by local children and families in 2014. You should also donate gifts you don’t want to charities or replacement items like sweaters.
  6. Cards – Holiday cards and invitations to holiday parties are traditional, but they are also wasteful. Avoid cutting trees with evites, ecards and videos. Cheaper and easy to send, these are even more delightful.
  7. Light Friendly – LED and solar holiday lights are becoming more and more affordable and widespread. They not only cut down on or eliminate this excess on your electric bill but also are not as polluting to the environment. Work on replacing your lights and minimize the time you have them on. A timer is a great way to keep lights on when they are needed and off when they are not. And when they expire, your LED lights can be disposed of safely at Lightworks of Steamboat located in Loggers Lane.
  8. Wrapping Paper – Thankfully you can buy great looking recycled wrapping paper for all your gifts and buy-local at Lyon’s Drug (840 Lincoln Ave). Try to choose options that are ecofriendly and recyclable so that everyone can have a green holiday. Some papers are even able to be tossed in the compost bin and added to your garden later on.  And true recycle champions use a reusable shopping bag or a cloth gift bag instead of paper for gifting.

As you can see, it is easy to green your holidays. All it takes are a few simple steps to make your holiday greener for everyone. Make sure you recycle all you can and give away things you won’t use. Happy holidays!