Dreaming of a green Christmas? heres how to celebrate with a nod to N.C.s natural resources

Kevin Lamarque—Reuters
Reflected in an ornament

RALEIGH — If you want to have a green holiday season, The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality released tips Friday on how to save a little green for your pocket while protecting the environment this holiday season.
Give gifts of consumable products and services, such as food and beverages.
Give gifts of life experiences or gifts to non-profits in a person’s name.
Shop with reusable bags. Collect and reuse gift bags, bows and wrapping paper.
Use light strands with new light-emitting diode, or LED, lighting. LED lights save energy and last longer than traditional lightbulbs.
Use timers on holiday lighting. This will save energy by keeping festive lights on only when they are needed.
Give and use rechargeable batteries.
Recycle the electronics and batteries that are replaced by new gifts through county or city recycling programs. You can find local program contacts at:http://www.p2pays.org/localgov/ncwaste.html.
Make sure to collect and recycle all the bottles, cans and paper from holiday celebrations.
Buy a live tree with roots so it can be planted after the holidays. You can decorate it in your yard each Christmas and provide a roosting or feeding area for birds and other wildlife throughout the year.
Decorate with nature by bringing in pine boughs, acorns, flowers, pine cones and fruit from outside.
Purchase cards made with high-recycled content or send e-cards instead of paper cards. You can also reuse old cards to make gift tags or for crafts.
Estimate the amount of food you will consume for meals to avoid preparing too much. Send guests home with leftovers.
Set up a backyard compost bin and compost food preparation scraps. You can learn more at: http://deq.nc.gov/conservation/recycling/composting.
Recycle used cooking oils through your county or city recycling program. More information can be found at: http://deq.nc.gov/conservation/recycling/composting.
Use reusable dishes and cloth napkins. Avoid using disposable cutlery and paper or Styrofoam plates.