FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — When it comes to going green, small changes can make a big difference this holiday season.
“I’m all about not overhauling your whole life but finding small things you can do that can make a significant difference,” said wellness blogger Caryn Sullivan.
The two-time breast cancer survivor says for decor, look no further than your own backyard.
“I love using pine cones just sitting out on a mantle,” she explained.
Or use them in a centerpiece.
“Decorate them throughout your house and it gives a real wintry feel,” Sullivan said.
While Christmas lights can make the season feel warm and bright, they can also be energy wasters. Instead of using traditional lights, try ones powered by the sun.
“You don’t have to plug in the lights at all,” Sullivan explained. “You have to charge it outside for about 6 hours and then it gives you a days’ worth of energy.”
From sights to scents, those holiday candles may smell good but they might not be as safe as you think.
“Many of those candles, especially the ones that smell really good, are filled with chemicals and that can be harmful to your health,” Sullivan said.
Instead, try boiling spices like cinnamon stick or nutmeg.
“It makes the house smell really fresh and it’s all natural,” she explained.
If you do buy candles, look for ones made of all natural ingredients. Sullivan recommends the beeswax ones.
Now it’s time for presents. Sullivan says making your own gifts will not only save you money, but also the environment.
“Some simple yet fun DIY projects for the holidays could include making your own wreath,” she explained. Sullivan showed an example of one she made with shells collected at a nearby beach. Some other gifts are your own exfoliating scrubs made out of just three ingredients. Or, she suggests making and give dehydrated fruit.
“It’s promoting healthy living too,” she remarked.
Another easy gift idea? Create your own ornaments from old sheet music or even Legos
“And that is a beautiful and thoughtful gift for a family or friend,” Sullivan explained.
And when it comes to wrapping that gift, think twice. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between thanksgivings and New Years. Instead of tossing those paper bags from the grocery store, Sullivan says get creative.
“I know at first that sounds really bland but there’s so many ways that you can take a little twine or you can take some shells, that you can decorate them,” she explained.
Let your kids get in on the action too.
“Something that I think is so beautiful and can be a present within a present is find a colorful scarf and you wrap the gift in that,” Sullivan said.
Small changes like that can have a big impact.
“If each household took three gifts and found a way to recycle how they wrap or do something creative, that would cover over 45,000 football fields from that paper,” Sullivan explained.
Simple steps for a greener, healthier holiday. For more tips from Sullivan, visit her blog PrettyWellness.com.