QUIZ: How eco-jolly are you?

Add your total points at the end to find out!

1) What kind of merry-making is easiest on the earth?

A — Going caroling

B — Throwing a New Year’s bash

C — Giving a bottle of bubbly

2) What’s the greenest tree?

A — An evergreen

B — A potted palm

C — An aluminum tree

3) What’s the greenest gift?

A — Concert tickets

B — Organic fruit basket

C — A re-gift

4) How should you create that happy glow?

A — Candles

B — Twinkle lights

C — LED lights

5) The best green way to pretty up a package is:

A—Using reusable bags

B—Recycling ribbon

C—Sending gifts commando


1) What kind of merry-making is easiest on the earth?

A: Going caroling — You’d think. But opening the door for a single carol lets out a whopping 10 cubic meters of hot air, and it takes 72 watts to heat back up. So sing your heart out, but make sure the door’s closed. 1 point.

B: Throwing a New Year’s bash — Think body heat. Before revelers arrive for your party, notch down the thermometer a bit. Mingling bodies will soon raise the temperature. 2 points.

C: A re-gift — Pick up locally brewed bubblies, brews and spirits to reduce emissions caused by transporting foreign champagnes to your door. And don’t forget to recycle those bottles. 3 points.

2) What’s the greenest tree?

A: An evergreen — Good job! Buy from a local farm and you’re supporting local economies, going easy on the transit miles, and contributing to sustainable agriculture because most Christmas trees are farm-grown. Be sure to mulch it or get it chipped (call the city) to contribute to the cycle of life. 3 points.

B: A potted palm — Not bad. Potted trees and plants can be dressed up for the holidays then continue on as part of the family, but be sure to select varietals that can thrive indoors or be planted outside immediately, depending on your locale. If you’re not sure, ask. In many places, winter’s high, dry temperatures indoors will sap the life out of healthy plants. 3 points.

C: An aluminum tree — Surprise! This isn’t a bad choice—so long as it’s vintage (and looks good; think Charlie Brown Christmas). A new one would be a cardinal sin, given the petrochemicals, the shipping miles and the energy that goes into production. 3 points.

3) What’s the greenest gift?

A: Concert tickets — Going totally intangible by giving concert tickets, CSA farm shares, or gift certificates to locally owned stores helps you skip packaging—saving 5 to 10 pounds of trash a year. Sites like Apprema.com allow users to send e-mail gift cards or charity contributions en masse. 3 points.

B: Organic fruit basket — Organic is virtuous, but the travel miles it takes to get some fruit from its growing locale to your recipient are eco-sinful. Citrus may not be so awful depending on where you live, but tropical fruits are among the worst food-miles offenders. 1 point.

C: A re-gift — Good for you for following the three Rs—but there’s an art to re-gifting. Antique jewelry box, good. Sweater you wore a couple times, not so much. (Give it to charity instead.) 2 points.

4) How should you create that happy glow?

A: Candles — Let it burn! (Just not on the tree.) You’re all good if you opt out of petroleum-based paraffin candles. Soy and beeswax candles burn 50 percent longer and 90 percent cleaner, and they’re made from renewable resources. 2 points.

B: Twinkle lights — Bah! Your regular lights will add $60 to your power bill this season. 0 points.

C: LED lights — Jackpot! With new LED lights, you’ll spend 30 cents on energy for the average season compared to $60 for traditional lights. 3 points.

5) The best green way to pretty up a package is:

A: Using reusable bags — Bonus! By thinking like St. Nick and arriving with gifts inside reusable shopping bags, you’re helping save tomorrow’s trees giving extra gifts that’ll spare your recipients countless paper-or-plastic decisions. 3 points.

B: Recycling ribbon — Exactly! Keep in mind that if Americans cut out 2 feet of ribbon a year, we’d save 38,000 miles of ribbon—enough to tie a jolly bow around the planet. 2 points.

C: Sending gifts commando — Don’t be a grinch! Wrap things in earth-happy style by reusing old wrapping, bows and cards; bedecking gifts with woodland trimmings; or getting artsy with newsprint and found objects. 0 points.

So how eco-savvy are you?

If you scored ...

12 – 15 points: You're a green angel.

Cheers to you! Raise a glass of (locally brewed) grog in your own honor, ‘cause you’re greener than the average tannenbaum. Keep up the good work by getting new ideas on how to live and give green all year long in our e-newsletter.

8 – 11 points: You’re still on the eco-nice list …

Not bad! You’re trying to be kind to the environment — and we’re here to help you keep getting better at it. Check our Holiday Eco-Decorating Tips for merry and bright ways to deck the halls in green this year.

0 – 7 points: Don’t be an eco-grinch!

Your eco-holiday skills need some work … Quick! Revive the eco-cheer by brushing up on how to have a more eco-friendly holiday. Our Gaiam Gift Guide for Everyone on Your List, Green Gift Guide, Green Gifts on Sale and Top 10 Green Gift Wrap Ideas will give you great inspiration.

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