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The Green Life: Season Greenings with Holiday Thrift

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December 18, 2009

Season Greenings with Holiday Thrift

The small city of Concord in Northern California has been getting a lot of national attention this holiday season. Why? Because of its gigantic brown Christmas tree that looks like something from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Due to budget cuts, the city decided to not spend $20,000 on a large, plush green tree cut from nearby forests.

Instead, it strung up lights and decorations on a tree that was already growing in the center of town. Despite initial criticism about how pathetic the tree looks, the city has received a lot of positive comments from people around the nation because the tree had become a statement about overconsumption and the need to protect the environment.

Concord isn’t the only city cutting back on Christmas this year. Fresno, California, didn’t even purchase a real tree that would’ve been cut from a forest in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Orlando, Florida, decided not to decorate the city with 800 lampposts to save on energy costs.

All of these cost cutting decisions are actually great for the environment. Gigantic spruce pines are spared and left to absorb harmful greenhouse gases from the air. Not to mention less extravagant light displays save on energy consumption.

If your family budget this year is a little bit lacking, consider enacting your own holiday thrift. Although Hanukkah is almost over, there is still time to exercise thriftiness to help the environment. Why not try making a Menorah from recycled bottles? Check out other green Hanukkah ideas here.

For Christmas penny pinchers, check out a thrift store for secondhand decorations. You can also use old wrapping paper to create wall decorations. Also, consider scaling back on lights displayed in your front yard. You can use a timer to have your Christmas lights turn on and off at certain times so you won’t leave the lights on by accident. All this week we have been sending you green gift ideas, but if you missed any of them, check them out at our tips page.

--Julie Littman

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