It seems as though, no matter how “environmentally friendly” you are during the year, something seems to come over us during the holiday season that tends to diminish push all of these good intentions to the side.

The following are 10 of Marie France’s suggestions that will help you to remain “green” while enjoying this festive time of the year!

1. By re-using wrapping paper or gift bags you are extending the life of these items and helping to reduce the amount of waste that finds itself in landfill.

2. Instead of exchanging store bought gifts with your closest friends, why not agree to exchange clothes or accessories with each other. That electric blue pashmina that you just can’t seem to match with anything could be the perfect accent for your friend’s new winter coat!

3. How about vintage? What better a way to express your appreciation for someone than to spend time looking for a perfect, one of a kind find for a truly unique gift!

4. If you want to give a party but don’t want the hassle of washing all of those dishes, forget the disposable items and rent instead. You probably don’t have  48 champagne flutes and will only use them rarely so buying stemware could be prohibitively expensive and plastic just won’t do. You can probably find a local supplier who rents party ware such as dishes and stemware at a relatively reasonable rate (usually from $.50 to $2. for a wine glass) the cost of which often includes delivery, pick-up and washing (so you won’t even need to go to the trouble yourself)!

5. If you do opt for throw away dishes, look for those that are recyclable and/or bio-degradable.

6. Start a new tradition and plant a tree with your family! (in colder climates you may need to dig the hole before the ground freezes!)

7. Scavenge branches, flower pods, and other foliage that you have gathered locally to make-up the large part of your centerpiece, adding a few special touches to give it sparkle

8. Lower the thermostat and warm up by the fire, a cozy way to celebrate the season and even to recycle some of the abundance of the season’s endless supply of  junk mail!

9. Look for sustainable materials (such as bamboo) when purchasing new items, either for yourself or to give as gifts, and try to go for longevity with quality items that will not need to be so frequently replaced. L.E.D.s consume a fraction of the electricity required by traditional bulbs and come in an exciting variety of colors that will brighten your holidays for many seasons to come, why not take advantage of after Christmas sales to stock up for next year?

10. Recycle your tree instead of throwing it away. Most areas have a composting program and will pick up the trees according to a schedule so find out when to put your tree out to give it a second life in the spring!

Please feel free to share your holiday suggestions and have a wonderful holiday season.