For many of us, the holiday season is a time that is anticipated with both joy and anxiety. While we love the celebrations and family traditions, and cherish the memories of holidays gone by, preparing for the Christmas season can be quite hectic. Here are some tips that can be helpful in getting ready for an enjoyable, meaningful holiday season in an environmentally friendly way.1. Set manageable expectations.Spend some time setting realistic and manageable expectations for your holiday season. Understand that you can’t do everything! Be realistic about what you can do. Make a priority list of your most important events and activities for you and your family, and materials needed for those events. Organise your time. Keep in mind that it’s the holiday “season” (not “day”) and spread out your activities to lessen stress and increase enjoyment.2. Focus on connecting with NatureChristmas is a time for giving, and a time for family. The season, then, presents a great opportunity to start a family tradition of giving back to the earth and instilling the values of sustainable living to your children, friends and community. Activities such as a family nature hike on Christmas Day will be remembered and valued. The family can also take part in a nature restoration activity throughout the season – planting a tree or enhancing an area of the community helps to recognise nature as a source of our well-being.The family can also engage in bird-watching each year. Try to identify and count every bird seen, and make a note of them in your journal. At the end of the hike, list the species seen and number of birds per species to appreciate the presence and value of our feathered friends.Make this an annual activity, and compare the results from former years to identify birding trends such as local bird population and migration habits. This is a great family activity, because even the youngest eyes are just as good at spotting the birds and contributing to the event.3. Make homemade cardsStore-bought Christmas cards are rich, elegant and expensive. However, they also consume a huge amount of natural resources for a one-time item. Homemade cards may not be as professional, but they are more personal and tend to be more appreciated. Making the cards is also a fun activity for the family. Pictures from calendars, used paper, flowers etc are a good place to start. Children’s’ art work is another good source for Christmas card pictures. Even the scribbles of the wee ones are interesting, fun, and especially appropriate for the season. Cut out sections of the artwork which look best, and fit to the required size.4. Gifts and decorationsChoose decorations which can be reused rather than flimsy ones which will only be used once and then thrown away. Donate decorations that you no longer need to local schools, churches, town offices or non-profit organisations.Instead of buying more plastic non-biodegradable decorations this year, make decorations using materials you would have otherwise thrown away. With just a little thought, you can come up with multiple ways to create pretty decorations that are eco-friendly.When choosing gifts, consider what persons would really need. Try to find gifts that were made locally. For children, battery-free toys would be perfect. Also try to minimise wrapping; in fact, old newspapers, comic books, calendars, and even cloth can be used to wrap gifts.You can share your ideas and questions by sending letters to: “Our Earth, Our Environment”, C/O ECEA Programme, Environmental Protection Agency, Ganges Street, Sophia, GEORGETOWN, or email us at: [email protected] or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.