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Merissa Mueller| Fulcrum Contributor

MAKE THE HOLIDAYS more environmentally friendly with these tips from the Fulcrum.

Dorm-room decorating
Decorate to your heart’s desire, but use items that can be reused, recycled, or composted come January. Use decorations that are meaningful to you so they won’t end up in the trash but will be reused year after year. I’m also a fan of compostable decorations, be it popcorn garlands for trees, gingerbread houses, or wreathes made from actual cedar. For holiday cards, get creative and make your own from recycled paper, or send e-cards to friends and family.

Give better gifts
How many times have you gotten a random gift from a random aunt, which you never ended up using or even taking the tags off of? Gifts that provide experiences are the environmental answer. It could be dinner reservations, tickets to a local event, or even a gift card for that picky someone—broke-ass students can always benefit from a Metro card for groceries. Any way you play it, an experiential gift prevents unwanted items from ending up in the landfill, and they result in great memories, or in some cases, fridges stuffed with great food. If you receive gifts that you really have no use for, donate them to a cause you care about or to the U of O’s Free Store located at 647 King Edward Ave.

Power down
There’s no better time of year than the holiday season to give something back to Mother Nature; be green by turning down the heat, putting on a sweater—bonus points if it’s knitted, tacky, and holiday themed—and enjoying a cup of hot cocoa. For further energy savings, put auto-timers on your lights to avoid accidental running-all-night-eating-energy-like-kids-eat-candy-canes-on-Christmas-morning incidents.

Tricky tree sitch
For some people, opting to buy an artificial tree isn’t an easy choice. Personally, I enjoy the genuine pine smell of a real tree. A plastic one will start looking more sparse after a handful of years’ worth of use, and will inevitably end up in the trash—that just doesn’t sit well with me. Trees can be grown and harvested sustainably, and more municipalities are ensuring they’re put to good use after Dec. 25 by collecting them to be chipped into mulch. If you’re still unsure, get a potted tree you can decorate in December and then transplant outdoors come spring.