By Jessica Johnson
This year the holidays are coming with the added challenge of the pandemic. Many of us share gifts of gratitude during this time of joy and marvel at the decorations inside and outside our homes. But rarely do we stop and think about the impact our gifts have on the planet.
Unfortunately, we are so accustomed to enjoying the holidays at the expense of the Earth however, it’s simple and easy to adapt to a healthier holiday for the planet. Some of the easy to-do’s are as simple as picking out a real christmas tree and starting a new tradition of planting a new one, along with becoming a bit closer to nature by spending more time outside.
A new holiday tradition that you can do to actively help save the environment is just going outside and enjoying the winter season (Cowan 2020). Go on nature walks with your family, friends or even a dog or two. This will bring you closer to the people you love while practicing social distancing as well. Bring everyone together before your annual holiday meal and go on a walk to enjoy nature. This way people will be hungry when you return and ready to sit down for the holiday feast. Another tradition that your family can adopt to further benefit your local community and wildlife is planting a new evergreen tree each holiday season. Planting a tree together will symbolize the value of nature, and you also will be “returning ” a tree for “taking” one as your annual Christmas tree.
Many people think that cutting down a christmas tree each year is bad for the environment, but it is actually the exact opposite. Although plastic trees could be used for years, many people throw them out after only a couple of uses, once they become less attractive from repeated use. Fake trees are made up of petroleum products (PVC) which last forever. Once these trees are discarded, they sit in landfills where they never decompose. Getting a live tree from a local farm helps the local community and they are a renewable resource, regularly replanted each year. They also contribute to good air quality, and ninety percent of all leftover christmas trees are sent to be repurposed into mulch. This mulch is usually then used to local gardeners and landscapers, to make your community a more beautiful place come summer time.
As you see it’s easier than you might think to make your holiday a little bit more “green” this holiday season. It’s important to think about the environment as well when we are getting together to reflect on what we have to be thankful for this holiday season. It’s as simple as coming together a little bit more in nature, going on a walk and maybe planting a small tree while you’re at it. Along with making it a new family tradition of going to your local tree farm and cutting down your own natural Christmas tree.