Many people who are interested in protecting the environment are concerned about the commercialism of Christmas and how much packaging goes to landfills each year. The following are some smart ways to put a green spin on your Christmas. Think about the environment and how the extra trash can affect it when planning this year’s gift giving.

One way to put a green spin on Christmas is to make your gifts rather than buying them. Besides making less of an impact on the environment, making gifts will make less of an impact on your wallet as well. Think about the people you plan to give gifts to and then think of things you can make or repurpose to create one-of-a-kind gifts.

Homemade cookies or candies can be a great holiday gift. Take a weekend and spend the time with your immediate family making several different types of cookies, fudge, divinity or peanut brittle. Think of what the people on your list would enjoy and make enough that you can create several gifts from your time in the kitchen.

Some people are crafty and are able to crochet or knit. If this is you, why not make them a scarf, cozy slippers or crocheted dish cloths? Those who sew may want to make table runners with matching placemats and napkins.

Children love stuffed animals. There are many types of stuffed animals you can make either from sewing, crocheting or knitting. Find instructions and patterns at craft stores, in craft books in the library, or on the internet. Any child would enjoy a stuffed animal made with lots of love.

Is there someone on your list who loves to cook? There are many things you can give that will be helpful in the kitchen. Get a large strainer, place spaghetti noodles, sauce and canned mushrooms or olives in it. Add a spaghetti server and parmesan cheese to finish the gift off. Wrap it with colored cellophane, much like an Easter basket. You’ll have given them a gift they can use and they will have little trash to throw away.

Bath oils, bubble bath and bath salts are great gifts to give to the women on your list. You can make your own relatively easily and for very little money. Look for recipes for these types of items in books, magazines and online. You could also make your own handcrafted glycerin-based soaps in your friends’ and family’s favorite scents.

Try to find local arts and crafts shows or festivals. You can find some unique locally made gifts at these events. Not only can you find great gifts, you’ll also be supporting the local economy. Gifts made close to home require less fuel for transport.

Choose a small, real Christmas tree which can be planted after the holiday rather than an artificial tree. Most people don’t realize artificial trees are made from petroleum products. A live tree will improve the air quality in your home and give it an awesome winter scent. Even though artificial trees are supposed to retain their shape, they often can become ugly after repeated use and they end up in landfills where they remain.

These are but a few of the many smart ways to put a green spin on your Christmas this year. Remember to try to repurpose, recycle and reuse wrapping items you already have. Make as many gifts as you can rather than buying. Most importantly, enjoy the time with your friends and family during this holiday season.