The Twelve Sustainable Days of the Holiday Season
On the first day:
Put a timer on all outside and inside holiday lights. Do you really want to go outside and/or crawl behind the recliner to unplug the lights right before you go to bed?
On the second day:
Replace at least one incandescent and/or holiday light strand with LEDs. LEDs are durable and efficient and save money during the life of the bulb. For a cost comparison of incandescent, LEDs and CFL bulbs go to http://eartheasy.com/live_led_bulbs_comparison.html.
On the third day:
Buy a live tree with or without the roots.
On the fourth day:
Try to pick gifts that do not require batteries or at least use rechargeable batteries when needed.
On the fifth day:
Nix the disposable containers or plates for gatherings. Make washing the dishes a game or a competition for your guests. Start a dishwashing conga line.
On the sixth day:
Instead of giving gifts to everyone in the extended family, draw names! This cuts back on cost and stress.
On the seventh day:
Shop for gifts at resale shops. Unique gifts and decorations can be found there and you are reusing.
On the eighth day:
Instead of a gift, donate money to your recipient’s favorite charity.
On the ninth day:
Decorate your yard with hand-made exterior decorations that attract birds using bird seed/peanut butter (with corn meal) and or suet. For ideas, go to
On the tenth day:
Use the Sunday comics to wrap gifts, especially large ones. What’s better than “free” wrapping paper!
On the eleventh day:
Minimize waste! Reduce, reuse or recycle as much as possible during the holidays. Holiday recycling tips are often available online. For examples, see the links below:
On the twelfth day:
Reuse old greeting cards for crafts or donate them to charity. For more information, go to the following links:
Need more than 12 green holiday tips? Here is more information to ensure a green holiday season:
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The DENR Sustainability Team is composed of representatives from 27 DENR divisions, offices and programs. Its mission is "to inspire a culture of sustainability within DENR by promoting environmentally responsible actions." More information on DENR Sustainability is available at portal.ncdenr.org/web/sustainability/home
Information on sustainability in buildings and lands in North Carolina is available on the state sustainability team NC Project Green website, www.ncprojectgreen.org.