So, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, right?
I bet right after Thanksgiving you started decorating didn’t you?
What if I told you that some of the things you use to decorate could potentially be toxic?
Well, here are 4 things to possibly ditch this year so that you can have a less toxic holiday:
1. Wrapping Paper
This one may not be a surprise, but usually the toxic wrapping paper comes in the form of the shiny, foily kind. Chances are this type of wrapping paper uses countless chemicals to dye it to make it look pretty.
Also, wrapping paper in general can be toxic to the environment. Because most wrapping paper cannot be recycled, it most likely ends up in a landfill.
“Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, American household waste increases by more than 25 percent. Trash cans full of holiday food waste, shopping bags, bows and ribbons, packaging, and wrapping paper contribute an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills.” – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Check out MADE SAFE’s Guide to Sustainable Gift Wrapping for some ideas on how to protect your loved ones from toxic paper as well as the planet
2. Scented Candles
I know you love the holiday scents, but ummm no.
Since the term aromatherapy has no restrictions, any manufacturer, even those that include synthetic ingredients, can use the term aromatherapy on their label. Candles made using paraffin wax and fragrance oils are not acceptable aromatherapy sources as they emit toxins when burned.
Look for candles that use ingredients such as beeswax, soy, and other vegetable based waxes. If all the ingredients are not listed then pass. Also, if fragrance is listed make sure it is derived from essential oils (*organic essential oils are better, if possible)
Check out this brief list of holiday inspired essential oils:
3. Artificial Christmas Tree
Did you know that artificial Christmas trees can be made from polyvinyl chloride [PVC] plastic, which often incorporates lead as a stabilizer? About 50 million U.S. households have artificial Christmas trees, of which about 20 million are at least 9 years old, the point at which dangerous lead exposures can occur.
They also can’t be recycled. So, guess what? They end up in a landfill right next to our pretty wrapping paper.
- Consider buying a real (even better yet…organic) Christmas tree (yes, I know what you’re thinking…why would I cut down a real tree? But, don’t worry – according to the Christmas Tree Promotion Board, for every real Christmas tree Christmas farmers harvest, they plant at least one new tree.)
Plus, a real Christmas tree is completely biodegradable and recyclable…
- If you still want to buy an artificial tree, make sure you look for eco-friendly, sustainable, PVC free artificial trees.
- Or you can just not buy a tree at all…just saying – Christmas is really not about the tree
4. Christmas Decorations
Now, this last item is a kind of “everything else you can think of that goes with Christmas”…this includes Christmas ornaments, wreaths, lights, garland…you get the picture.
Old Christmas ornaments were more than likely made with lead paint. And there is PVC used in the electrical cords of the lights.
A recent research study even discovered high levels of chemicals in light strings, artificial wreaths, holiday garland and other similar products that were purchased and tested from Walgreens, Kroger, Lowe’s, Walmart, Target and Dollar Tree.
Products were tested for substances that have been linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity and cancer.
Keep your decorations simple. The less stuff you have the less exposure you have to the chemicals.
Wash your hands after handling any of the decor.