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Question of the Week: What does a “green” holiday mean to you?

2009 December 14

There are almost as many holiday traditions as people who celebrate them, and as many ways to help protect the environment as we enjoy the holiday season. Share your thoughts on a green holiday.

What does a “green” holiday mean to you?

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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40 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    December 14, 2009

    Present, green holiday are money bargaining power between North and South. I am shy, to way out for green in the earth must measures by the money. COP 15, I hope, do not agree about the money, because its money will be corrupted by the leaders. Declaration must be “status Quo”. This year, “green” means not money to the south countries. Cause, They are Only Talk, Not Action. Really, I see it !!!!

  2. James permalink
    December 14, 2009

    I am writing for The hopes of jobs and business in the United State. So important to get our earth Green.It is my hopes that we don’t take our eye off the ball.
    Today, I saw were Dr. Chu is spending 350 billion threw out the World.
    Let’s Greenup the job market why we have the opportunity.

    Happy Healthy Holidays to all.

  3. Lori Ann permalink
    December 14, 2009

    A green holiday is using my reusable bags for holiday shoping, not just groceries. It also means buying gifts like rechargeable batteries instead of alkaline (one time use) for a toy car.

  4. Bo James permalink
    December 14, 2009

    I will assume that you mean Christmas when you say “holiday” since it is December.

    During the Christmas season I try to focus on Jesus Christ and the many blessing s that God has bestowed on the USA and my family and me in particualr.

    As for “green” … I thank God every day, especially during Christmas for the blessing of living in the USA where we enjoy clean and safe air, water, food, etc. If the rest of the world would follow our lead the World woudl be a “greener” place.

  5. Charles permalink
    December 14, 2009

    Green means the same to me any time of year. Using less stuff. Buying stuff that lasts longer instead of replacing it. At this time of year? One thing we do is avoid using our fireplace, which we do not need for heat, just to skip whatever little CO2 emissions it puts out.

    Reason is, it’s only not about how much money it helps my family save like some think (how often does the Energy Star patronize us with “save money,” how tiresome?) But it IS about doing our part. Too many people don’t even think about it, they’re all about the bling, bling, bling, it’s my turn. Get on board, y’all.

  6. Jessica McAleer permalink
    December 14, 2009

    I life zone because it has a humble balance.

  7. Jackenson Durand permalink
    December 14, 2009

    A green holiday would means, a time to rethink with environment nature again by enjoying the most natural life style possible.
    Eating (drinking) green, spending time out in good nature, pragmatic sustainability and doing green peace.

  8. Dr. Spaceman permalink
    December 14, 2009

    The holidays are a time of year which has a large impact on your carbon footprint. Between purchasing gifts, holiday dinner, travel and decorations there are many things to focus on to make your holidays ‘green’.

    GIFTS – Pay attention to what you purchase this holiday season. Look for gifts that do not have excessive packaging or that need to be shipped long distances. If possible, look for items that are made from recycled or sustainable materials or manufactured locally. Gift certificates to ‘green’ companies can also be a good idea. Whole Foods Market Gift Certificates and World Wildlife Fund Donations are always a great idea. Another way to save money and the environment is to avoid expensive greeting cards. Be creative and create your own or avoid them all together.

    HOLIDAY DINNER – For your family holiday dinner this year, look in to cooking ‘green’. More local grown veggies and less meats will make for a healthy, eco-friendly meal. Emril Legasse has a list of ‘green’ recipes taken from his show on Planet Green Network.

    TRAVEL – Plan out your upcoming weeks and find opportunities to reduce your time spent traveling. Look for mass transit or car pooling options when visiting relatives. Also look for deals online when shopping to cut down on the number of trips you need to take to the store.

    DECORATIONS – Try to avoid purchasing new decorations if you can. Check sites like Craig’s List and eBay for used decorations which will keep them from being tossed in the trash. If you do need to purchase new decorations look for new, energy efficient LED lights. Make sure you also put your lights on timers so that they can be shut off during the day and late at night when not needed.


  9. Ray permalink
    December 14, 2009


  10. Laura permalink
    December 14, 2009

    To make a “green” holiday at my house, I’m not going to buy or use throw away party items like paper plates or plastic cups. I’m going to use my own plates, forks, spoons and glasses and I’ll let the dirty dishes wait until the next morning.

  11. w t harter permalink
    December 14, 2009

    Since i was a little boy we have always had a green Christmas tree (and not a holiday tree) as we celebrated the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.

    I suppose your question was meant to address something different so here goes. The only thing we need to turn green is the job market to put green bills into our wallet. Many of our political leaders do not know how (or don’t want to) to make this happen. Hint, start manufacturing. Manufacturing creates wealth, higher technology, pays for research and development, increases the tax base and produces lasting meaningful jobs. What is common to all third world countries? Another hint, they have little or no manufacturing. Why does China now own most of our debit? Another hint, they started manufacturing.

  12. Joan permalink
    December 14, 2009

    Stores are full of useless doo-dads that we buy because we need to give someone a “gift”. But what’s the cost to the environment to manufacture all that “stuff”?
    Instead, my siblings and I go in together to make a donation to the charity of our choice. We do exchange cookies or little stocking stuffers, but the big gift is to our community. It’s green, and it feels good!

  13. Phil Jutras permalink
    December 14, 2009

    This year a Green Holiday means connecting our (GETI) volunteer training for energy efficiency skills & start ups to acheive the link to real jobs in the energy efficiency sector. Through strong integrated federal/state gov coordination and business incentives we can stimulate residential weatherization which will inturn result in increased green contractor hirings and forming of Green start-ups.

    An essential remedy for dislocation and the dispair of being without work is “taking action!”
    Phil Jutras
    GETI-Waltham, MA

  14. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    December 14, 2009

    I won’t buy any new decorations this year. I don’t. I reuse the old ones. The same with gift wrapping paper. Some of the trimmings from the meals have to be tossed out but here even they can be reused in a sence. Our city has started a program this summer to collect food waste and take it to a facility that converts it into fertilizer. We are diverting this out of the land fill and reusing it. The city has Christmas light displays at city hall and several other locations but use low energy use bulbs. I am not using lights this year at home. And am not planning to do much travelling. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  15. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    December 14, 2009

    Brother Bo, I am encouraged by and totally agree with your statement. The United States has gone out of its way to decrease pollution while the rest of the world ignores what God has given to mankind. As Christians we realize that we are only stewards of what God has allowed us to oversee. As the “Good Book” says, HE owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

  16. Winter permalink
    December 14, 2009

    The best way to enjoy the green holiday is to pick one plant and be friends,and show that friend that I really do care about you

  17. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    December 15, 2009

    Well, I am going to go against the trend and wish for a “white” Christmas. As for the green part I will be a good steward of what the Lord has entrusted to me. To me Christmas is celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the best birthday party ever because he was sent to Earth to redeem us from our sins and we get to recieve the gifts, such as his free gift of salvation.

  18. Maria permalink
    December 15, 2009

    It means not buying a bunch of crap for people, and when you do buy something for someone, wrap it in newspaper or be creative and use the magazine paper and the pictures. Instead if buying junk, go for a walk in a park and enjoy God’s green earth this season. Burn some calories while you take it all in!

  19. Lewis permalink
    December 15, 2009

    Personally, I believe we should try this. One day a week where there is no excessage, certain areas dimmed, even have the bus fare reduced that day to make it more encouraging, and absolutely no bbq, campfires or fireplaces up. After the year is up, see how well our emissions have went down.

  20. Jane permalink
    December 15, 2009

    Oh for goodness sake… It’s fine if that’s what you believe, but that isn’t the topic of discussion here. They are talking about what YOU will do this holiday season to help minimize your carbon footprint, help sustain Earth and keep it going for as long as possible. Let me guess, you believe that there is nothing wrong with our planet and that there’s no such thing as global warming? I understand if you are Christian and HAVE to put a “Jesus” spin on EVERYTHING, but this is about having a happy, healthy AND sustainable holiday. I’m sure the “Lord” wants you to take care of YOUR planet, isn’t that what’s “entrusted” to you??? Stop being so difficult and help EARTH out. I take this statement from your reply of a previous comment, “The United States has gone out of its way to decrease pollution while the rest of the world ignores what God has given to mankind.” Honestly? You say the rest of the world like everything around the world is just peachy. People AND animals are stricken with starvation, disease, and being without familes and homes THIS holiday. Is THAT what your “God” has given to rest of mankind around the world?? You seriously think your “Lord” is going to save us from a planet that is falling apart?! OF COURSE we need to be more aware about pollution and decrease it. Do you believe “God” is just going to make it all better without ANY help??… Please. Get off your ‘high-horse’ and help OUR home. We ALL SHARE THIS PLANET!! Have a wonderful HOLIDAY.

  21. franklank permalink
    December 15, 2009

    It means Al Gore made another billion dollars from his Carbon swapping company thanks to the GLOBAL WARMING SCAM.

  22. lisa permalink
    December 15, 2009

    We have a small potted pine tree that is usually on our patio that we bring in each year and decorate as our christmas tree. It’s sustainable and we don’t contribute to chopping down a tree every year just to use for 3 weeks then throw away. Doesn’t look quite as full and fancy as a traditional tree but it’s unique and it’s ours.

  23. John T permalink
    December 16, 2009

    For the past couple of years, rather than wrapping gifts in decorative paper (which is not recyclable), I place the gift in a reusable shopping bag. That reduces waste and hopefully encourages the gift recipients to start using reusable bags when shopping.

  24. The Real World permalink
    December 16, 2009

    Bo and Jimmy, I am not sure of what fantasy world you fellers are living in. I think you two and ‘God’ should pick up a newspaper (and not the local ‘feel good’ times). The US is strides behind most countries in being ‘green’. There are countries out there who get most of thier power from sustainable sources like wind, hydro and solar. The US is just getting over it’s regime backed by oil companies and crooked politicians. It was even a stretch that we showed up in Coppenhagen this past week.

    However, even though we are late, we are starting to catch up with everyone else. Mainly because large companies disguise the profitable, money driven reasons with their ‘blanket of caring and descency’. This holiday, pray for a subscription to a newspaper with international news in it.

    Everyone must educate themselves and become the driving force behind US’s ‘green’ movement!!!

  25. Scott permalink
    December 16, 2009

    I like your retort Jane! Thanks for reminding folks to stay on message when commenting on this blog. Best to leave the religion vs. pollution debate out of it.

  26. Dylan permalink
    December 16, 2009

    Anyone who says anything about carbon footprint really has no grasp on science anyway so maybe you should stop trying to explain something to people that you know nothing about. Nobody thinks that there is no such thing as global warming we just think that it is not caused by humans. If you thing that your Carbon Dioxide is causing this then please do us all a favor and stop breathing. The EPA will be disbanded. The are the problem. I rellay don’t know where you get your idea that the world is falling apart. I certainly think that the Earth has been through tougher times. The earth can sustain itself.

  27. Scott permalink
    December 16, 2009

    A green holiday to me means not flying or buying stuff. Instead of presents, how bout presence? Tough to do if your family lives far away, but never underestimate the gift of a hug! There’s plenty of gift ideas aside from purchasing consumer goods that eventually end up in a landfill. I like gifting services… like theater tickets. Support the arts!

  28. Sharon permalink
    December 16, 2009

    I use the nature environment around my home to make wreaths, center pieces, door hangers, etc. I have wonderful materials that fall from the trees like pine cones and other material that I don’t know, but look great: some look like small spiny pineapples, spikey balls, bumpy cherries, I use them all and people LOVE them.

  29. Dylan permalink
    December 17, 2009

    The politicians are only getting involved in the global warming scam because they have an oppurtunity to gain some money and power.

  30. Jane permalink
    December 18, 2009

    Global Warming scam…wow. Where have you been?? They actively have scientific proof that there IS Global Warming. You know what? You’re going to wish that this is a scam. You really will. I wish it was too, but it’s not. I ask you; why do you think it’s a scam? It IS happening. It’s just whether or not you’re going to help slow down the process. I sincerely hope you will. You don’t want to loose all of the beautiful creatures in the artic, do you?

  31. Dylan permalink
    December 18, 2009

    That sounds about right. Lets Hope that Nopenhagen is a flop

  32. Sarah permalink
    December 18, 2009

    If all of you are so skeptical about environmental issues, why are you taking the time to read and respond to a blog called “Greenversations”??

  33. Lara & Vara Sharma permalink
    December 19, 2009

    We are in 4th grade and we already have our own group that is giving tips as well requests to the kids at our school to save our environment. In this group our tag line is “Today’s kids saving environment for future grandkids”.

    For us the green holidays means saving what ever we can this holidays.
    A – For our school teacher we did not wrap the gifts in wrapping paper. We put the gifts in bags and made sure we do not write the names on the bags so that the teacher sould “REUSE” them.

    B – We also bought greeting cards made up of recycled paper as well as printed by vegetable based inks. This is the drive we are focusing on right now.

    We also wrote on each card asking teacher to “Re-use whatever you can”.

    This way we are trying to do our little bits to save our environment.

  34. Lynne Johnson permalink
    December 20, 2009

    During the holidays this year, we will try to buy less, consume less, and travel less. While buying, we are focusing on smaller and more durable items that will last longer and take less to wrap, pack or mail.

    Last year, I noticed that my friends had stopped wrapping packages in paper and gave gifts in lovely boxes with beautiful ribbons, both of which could be reused. None of the magic of gift-giving was lost, and there was no paper to dispose of later.

    I have always used last year’s holiday cards as name tags on this year’s presents, and save bows and boxes. I also shred giftwrap to use as stuffing for gift bags or mailing boxes in lieu of tissue or bubblewrap.

    I am not the first to have said it, but there are actually four “R’s” to being Green: Reduce, Reuse, Repair, THEN Recycle.

    For the holidays, I am not asking for anything new, but to have things that I already own fixed before I replace them. All I want for Christmas is the name of a good, old-fashoined, all-purpose repairman.

    The machines we use in everyday life are simple and easy to fix. Why people throw away their repairable ones and buy new ones every couple of years is a mystery to me. So far this year I have personally repaired my sink disposer, washer & dryer (both 15 years old), one attic fan motor, and my lawn mower a few times. I am not replacing any of the items that are still broken until I have tried harder, and a professional tells me they are past repair.

    Somewhere along the way, Americans decided to trade in everything they own every two years, as if all their possessions were a leased car. Somehow, we have to get back to buying quality merchandise that lasts, rather than disposable, plastic suff that breaks – and we have got to obtain a basic knowledge of when something is broken and when it is fixable.

    I’m not a mechanic or an electrician – I’m a housewife with a few biological science degrees. I can’t fix everything, and I know my limitations (don’t mess with 220 volts). But I would bet that most Americans could fix the majority of problems in their households on their own, with a minimum of effort and expense, if they took the time to try. It would keep tons of scrap out of our landfills and save billions in repair and replccement costs.

  35. melvin permalink
    December 20, 2009

    so why are we not “GREEN” in 35-40 years? WHERE did the MONEY GO and to WHOM?
    “Eletric cars” yeh we had the “PINTO’ FIERO”..etc..Where are they NOW?This generation of people are 6 FEET TALL..try puting them into a ELECTRIC CAR” with the carseat for baby or try getting GRANDMA and GRANDPA into the backseat…Where are our Solarpanels? Where is the TGV (higspeed traisn) to moved goods and people?
    THERE WILL BE NO “GREEN CHRISTMAS” reason “NO GREEN”The ELECTRIC COMPANY raise my bill over $ 100% over last years and not of MORE USAGE..JUST GREED, they let landlord not payed there bills …till it is over $ 100,000 and then they shoot-off the power to the tenants…it happen twice already to SENOIR in DETROIT ..where the Landlord LIVE in NEW YORK …P.S. the new coins beingprinted NO LONGER SAY’IN GOD WE TRUST”! an you wunder “why” every company has “GREED” instilled to them.P.S For my to sighn up with the electric company/they want me to pay MORE!

  36. Eli McGowan permalink
    December 20, 2009

    Totally agree guys.

    “real world”, you really think if the U.S. wanted to be greener it couldn’t? Maybe we could, but we have a constitution that restricts certain abridgments of rights in the process. Unfortunately this agency has abandoned the constitution in the course of becoming more “green”.

  37. Eli McGowan permalink
    December 20, 2009

    Amen brother.


  38. Martine permalink
    December 21, 2009

    A green holiday is:

    Play outside a lot,
    Do not give material gift but offer a service, a supper, an activity to someone.
    If you want to give a material present, give a second hand toy or object.
    Use newspaper to wrap gifts or reeuse old paper.
    Make your own cards.
    Talk with your family about reducing our footprint on Mother EArth.
    Be thankful to her.

    Happy holiday.

  39. Rachel permalink
    December 23, 2009

    My sister asked for us to give her the gift of a goat for x-mas this year so that she can provide milk and cheese to others in a country that has less resouces than the US. Many are like my sister and need nothing so this sustainable gift is not only green but very generous to be able to help others less fortunate. Many should think of giving rather than recieving this and for years to come!

  40. Hari B. Bindal permalink
    February 17, 2010

    Celebrate Green Christmas

    The Issue: Every year million of green christmas tree are cut, transported, sold, and after christmas is over thrown to street corner. The current practice costs to the consumer’s pocket, destroys greenery, and ends into disposal problem.

    Solution: Buy or grow a Christmas tree in a pot, bring the potted tree inside home, decorate, and after Christmas is over, remove the decoration, transfer the potted tree out to landscaping, or keep in, as the situation permits, to reuse the tree year after year. Year round, or before you bring the tree in, trim the tree to your needs.

    1. To individual, it will save cost and hassle of buying, carrying, and installing a green Christmas tree each year. You do not have to dispose the tree, rather just transfer out side the house to add to the landscape or keep it in as indoor house plant. You will have affection to your Christmas tree year round.
    2. To the environment, millions of trees (greenery) saved, esthetic (used trees on the street curb), and cost of disposal saved or eliminated. Nationwide, savings of several Billion Dollars each year.

    1. Business of growing and selling Christmas tree is hurt.
    2. The potted tree would be heavier than a branch/green tree to carry in and out of the house.

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