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There are plenty of ways to be green friendly and environmentally aware during the holiday season--ANY holiday season!
For starters, cutting down the amount of plastic you purchase is an excellent choice. Carving a real pumpkin is much better than the plastic versions sold in stores around Halloween, and recycling those scary decorations you already own is also an option.
For birthdays, a gift bag is a smaller use of paper than buying a roll of gift-wrap, and far easier to deal with. For winter holidays, fake trees may seem like a green alternative to a real tree, but plastic trees mean petroleum-based materials. Eventually, even the fake holiday trees will end up in a landfill somewhere. It's better to explore living tree options or even consider doing without the tree in favor of a special place in the home where gifts can be put on display before the great unwrapping.
When it comes to the unwrapping, most people consider it impractical to try and save the paper, but any ribbon used to wrap those gifts could definitely be used again. When dealing with the discarded wrapping paper, one alternative to throwing it all away is to save it for a do-it-yourself papermaking project, which can be great fun for kids and adults alike.