Joy to the World

Joy to the World: Give a gift to the Earth by making your holiday a little greener
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’Tis the season for over consumption. But there are many simple ways you can reduce your impact on the planet throughout the holiday merriment. Here’s a guilt-free holiday how-to so you can break those naughty traditions. Deck the halls: Take the organic pledge and purchase a pesticide-free tree. There are five organic tree farms in the region (visit Or decorate a live evergreen in your yard. Daya Apunte of Inviro Design & Consulting in Swannanoa recommends stringing popcorn and cranberries for a biodegradable alternative to tinsel garland, or constructing wreaths with tree trimmings, holly, dried flowers, and pinecones. You can make a table centerpiece by placing a soy or beeswax pillar candle in the middle of the wreath. Green Giving: Sandra Swarz of based in Fairview adorns gifts with holly, dried leaves, and greenery instead of plastic bows and ribbon. She also repurposes noncompostable wrapping paper as packing material for shipping fragile items. Her website features 100-percent recycled and compostable wrapping paper, bows, and cards. And for every package of paper sold, a tree is planted. Home for the Holidays: The North Carolina Department of Transportation recommends that travelers check the air pressure in their tires and set their alarm clocks before traveling. Adequate tire pressure will save you miles per gallon on that long holiday road trip. And make a point to leave early to avoid traffic. Abrupt starts and stops can increase fuel consumption by 40 percent.