Q: What’s green, covered in tinsel, and croaks?
A: A mistle-toad!

Bad jokes aside, here at Agents of Discovery headquarters, we’re watching the landscape turn from green to white as the winter solstice approaches. It’s a busy time of the year for everyone, so our office will be closed from December 22 to January 3. As we prepare for some festive fun with friends and family, we thought we’d offer a few tips on keeping the holidays green (even if it snows where you live).

Recycle, recycle, recycle: Most wrapping paper and parcels can be recycled. Try to avoid paper with metallic coating, which can be harder to recycle. You can also be creative (and economical)  by using dish towels, newspapers, and reusable bags to decorate and disguise your gifts.

Reduce the heat. You may have noticed that when large groups gather, the room heats up, from both body heat and holiday energy.  Try turning the heat down a degree or two. Your guests might thank you! It might also give them a good excuse to wear their holiday-themed sweaters.

Think long term: Holiday decorations have more sentimental value when they last through generations. When you’re buying decorations, spending a few more dollars for lasting quality will hold more value – and be better for the Earth – than cheaper plastic alternatives.

Rethink the lights:  Sure, your neighbor might have enough lights, inflatable snowmen, and giant candy canes to be seen from space, but you can save energy and money by sticking to LED lights. They use 90 percent less energy!

Consider a real tree: This might seem counterintuitive, but keep in mind that most Christmas trees are grown just for that purpose. While they’re growing, they help remove carbon from the atmosphere, and they’re also easier to recycle. Fake trees, in contrast, are often made from petroleum byproducts and can be harder to recycle.

Experience over stuff: This is a personal decision, but consider the environment impact of adding more “stuff” to your life when you’re exchanging gifts. Eight days of giving over Hanukkah can add up to a lot of new things! In fact, studies show that experiences often have a more lasting impact on our happiness. Giving someone the gift of time spent together is often appreciated, as are things like concert tickets, activity passes, or a meal out.

Real dishes: We get how tempting it is to just throw away some paper plates when the party ends, but real dishes are easier on the Earth.

Defrost: If you anticipate freezing a lot of leftover holiday goodies, defrost your fridge first. You’ll use less electricity once it’s packed full with food.

 

Agents of Discovery wishes you a fun and festive holiday season. See you in 2018!

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