Have A Green Holiday

If you're looking for ways to have an environmentally friendly holiday, listen up; Stephanie AuWerter, Editor of SmartMoney.com, has some tips that will make your holiday a little more eco-conscious.

Instead of decorating your home with conventional incandescent lights this season, try switching to energy efficient LED lights. "These will last up to 100,000 hours so they really are a good deal," says AuWerter. The cost of LED lights may be a little more up front - about five dollars more - but AuWerter adds that these strands are a lot sturdier than traditional lights.

Also, AuWerter suggests buying a live Christmas tree instead of an artificial one. "These Christmas tree crops are allowed to grow for ten years - that's good for the environment," says AuWerter. "What goes into creating a fake tree - that process - is not good for the environment."

What to do with that live tree after the holidays? See if your community offers a tree recycling program. Some towns will take old Christmas trees and turn them into mulch, which then beautifies the neighborhood as well.

Another tip is to make sure you are fireplace savvy. "A fire in your fireplace can actually increase your home heating costs," says AuWerter. While a fire is roaring, the warm air from the rest of your house is pulled out through the fireplace causing your furnace to kick in before it really needs to. This increases fuel consumption and costs you more money to heat your home. To save money - and use your fireplace - try keeping the doors closed to the room that your fireplace is in. Also, when you don't have a fire going, be sure to close the damper.

But going green this holiday season isn't limited to you; You can also think green when you're buying gifts for others as well. Many websites now offer green gift alternatives. AuWerter suggests visiting price comparison websites like PriceGrabber.com to look for green options. "You can find everything from organic wine to organic lipstick," says AuWerter. Major retailers, like Target, have also added "green" sections to their store to make green shopping easier.

For more information on making your holiday environmentally friendly, or to access personal financial advice on other topics, click here to visit SmartMoney.com

By Erin Petrun