Photo by Jen Collier

Photo by Jen Collier

Simple Ways to Green Your Holidays This Season

from the Education Department 

We are dreaming of a GREEN holiday season! Being animal friendly this holiday season doesn’t need to be another thing on your to-do list – we can help you make it fun and easy! Here are a few simple things you can do while celebrating this season while caring for the earth:

•  Know your wrapping paper choices. In the U.S., annual trash from gift-wrap and shopping bags totals 4 million tons. The materials that go into making some wrapping paper result in it not always being accepted for recycling. If you do use wrapping paper and ribbons – keep them out of the recycling bin; it can make the entire bin unrecyclable! When you can, try to buy wrapping paper that is made from recycled materials (it will say so right on the label). It is always best to reuse your wrapping paper, or not use it at all. Get creative and make your own out of brown bags or newspaper!

•  Switch to LED lights on your tree. If your strands of lights are older than 10 years it is actually more efficient to replace them with newer LED sets. This can also save you up to 90% on power costs, and will last longer than your traditional bulbs. Look for trade-in programs at places like Home Depot and to recycle your old lights and get great deals on new ones! Help save energy by turning off light displays at bedtime, rather than running them all night.

•   Buy less. If you have children on your holiday shopping list this year, consider a gift that keeps on giving. Memberships to places like zoos and museums are the perfect way to provide those children, and their families, with months of learning and exploration opportunities! Gifts like memberships, classes, daytrips and subscriptions to magazines not only give them something to use all year – but are also environmentally friendly!  Purchase a zoo membership as a gift on our Membership Page. For more non-toy gift ideas visit

•  Donate used toys and clothes before the new ones arrive. Before Santa arrives, help teach your children the spirit of giving by having them pick 3 toys they don’t play with much anymore. Donate those items to a local homeless or domestic violence shelter. While you are cleaning up and organizing, consider recycling clothing and other items in your house through donation as well!

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