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10 Tips for a Safe and Healthy Holiday Season

Top Tips for a Green and Healthy Holiday from the Children's Environmental Health Center

Top Tips for a Green and Healthy Holiday from the Children’s Environmental Health Center


O Christmas Tree!

Choose a real tree as artificial trees are often made with PVC and may contain phthalates and lead. Consider a tree grown without pesticides or a live tree that can be planted in your yard. Recycle your tree after the holidays!

Less is More!

Give the gift of experiences like museum passes, movie or theater tickets, or shop gently used second-hand items. This keeps toys out of the landfill and can reduce the potential for chemical exposures from toxic toys.

Choose a real tree instead of an artificial one

Go Low-Tech!

Choose toys that don’t require batteries and avoid stocking up on the latest electronic devices. Recycling and disposal of batteries and electronics releases toxins into the environment.

Stay Warm & Toasty

When using space heaters, choose UL certified electric heaters and never burn gasoline, diesel, and charcoal indoors. Always place generators outdoors at least 20 feet away from doors, windows, and vents. Install carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your home and outside of every bedroom.

Skip the Glitter!

Glittery cards, wrapping paper, and decor may add some dazzle to your holidays but glitter is a microplastic that contaminates waterways, fish, and other marine life. Paper products made with glitter cannot be recycled.

Glitter is a microplastic that contaminates waterways, fish, and other marine life.

Shop Green & Local

Shop local to avoid extra packaging and pollution from delivery. Support businesses that give back to underserved communities through job opportunities and philanthropy. 

Festive Flames

Keep candles and open flames away from flammable objects or consider battery-powered candles. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside all bedrooms and test them monthly.

Delicious Leftovers

365 million pounds of food are sent to landfills every day, releasing gases that contribute to climate change. Send guests home with leftovers or compost what you don’t eat. Store and reheat leftovers in glassware instead of plastic which can release harmful chemicals.

Hanukkah: keep candles and open flames away from flammable objects

Wrap It Up!

2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper end up in landfills each year. Use reusable gift bags or baskets, fabric, or recycled newspaper as creative alternatives to wrapping paper. Reuse or recycle wrapping paper – but note that shiny or textured paper, glitter, ribbons, and bows cannot be recycled.

Smells Good!

There’s nothing like the sweet smells of the holidays but air fresheners, candles, and incense pollute the air with VOCs, phthalates, and other harmful chemicals. Add scent naturally by boiling cinnamon sticks on the stove, decorating with real evergreens, or baking cookies!