How to have a greener Christmas

Are you trying to live a greener life? Perhaps you are trying to recycle more or avoid products that come wrapped in plastic or larger cardboard boxes for smaller items?

If there's one time of year when there's tons of packaging (gift cards, bags, boxes and wrapping paper galore), it's Christmas.

It's the norm, we know, and something many of us have done for as long as we can remember. Plus, opening those presents is one of the things that makes Christmas so great, but it's not necessarily good for the planet.

Here are four practical tips on how to have a more environmentally conscious Crimbo.

Eco-friendly Christmas tip 1: Switch to eco-friendly Christmas cookies.

Take a minute to think about how much the cookies cost for the sake of a second or two of delight and surprise. As soon as you've tossed them out and located your prize, job done. But if you take the time to look around, you'll find that there are cookies that are plastic-free, not to mention reusable.

And if you have time and love to be crafty, then you can also make your own cookies from recyclable materials.

Eco-friendly Christmas tip 2: Have an eco-friendly Christmas tree.

It's possible to green your Christmas tree for more reasons than just its color. For example, you can choose a live tree that can be replanted in your yard once Christmas is over, or you could even rent a real tree. Or if you don't care about having a real tree, you can still use an artificial one, which you can dust and reuse every year. Or, you could opt to have no tree at all and just do deco. Another idea could be to decorate a tree you have outside (no need to worry about it taking up space, your pets diving into it, or having pine needles all over the ground...).

Eco-friendly holiday tip #3: Use eco-friendly wrapping.

That is, recycled wrapping paper that does not contain any non-recyclable materials, such as aluminum foil, glitter and plastic. In addition to checking the label to see if the paper of your choice is sustainable, another way to test whether or not wrapping paper is recyclable is to do the scrunch test.

How to do the crinkle test: Crumple the paper into a ball in your hand and then release it. If the ball stays crumpled, it can be recycled. If not, it contains materials that cannot be recycled.

If you plan to use gift bags, don't hesitate to save any gift bags you've been given. The same goes for ribbons, tissue, bows and any other secondhand gift materials that still have plenty of life left in them.

Eco-friendly Christmas tip 4: Give eco-friendly Christmas gifts.

Reusable coffee mugs, bamboo fiber lunch boxes and cutlery sets, plant-based candles, beeswax wraps, refillable glass bottles, natural shampoo bars and waste-free beauty products all fit the eco-friendly holiday gift bill.

Feeling excited about having a greener Christmas now? Even if you start with some eco-friendly Christmas cookies this year, have an eco-friendly Christmas tree or choose a few eco-friendly Christmas gifts here or there, you'll help ensure that your festivities are more environmentally fair.