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How to Have a Green Christmas

Eco-friendly strategies for making the holidays healthier for you -- and the planet.

Greener Holiday Decorations: Lighten Your Carbon Footprint

Christmas lights can consume an alarming amount of electricity, as homeowners who lavishly decorate their house and yard discover when inspecting their electric bill for the holiday season. You can lighten your "carbon footprint" -- and the burden on your pocketbook -- by using light-emitting diodes, or LED lights, instead of conventional holiday lights. LEDs use far less electricity -- sometimes up to 90% less -- and remain cool to the touch.

The Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center this season is ablaze with 30,000 LED lights, which will cut electric consumption from 3,510 to 1,297 kilowatt hours -- an amount of electricity equal to what a typical 2,000-square-foot house would use in a month, the Associated Press reports.

Some LED lights for outdoor use also come with solar panels, which reduce the cost of electricity to zero.

Green Christmas: Less Is More

The bottom line, for minimizing stress on the environment and on yourself during the holiday season, is simple -- use less stuff, as Lilienfeld's book advises. Buy fewer gifts, and get by with fewer decorations and smaller meals. That will contribute more than anything to the health of the planet, the health of your body, and the health of your budget.

Reviewed on December 12, 2007

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