Christmas around the world is a festive time for cheers and gift-giving. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most wasteful times of the year. Throughout the year, the Environmental Protection Agency would have offered practical advice and solutions on how you, as consumers, can manage your waste; conserve water and electricity; and overall, be more environmentally conscious. The festive season has a huge environmental impact on water and energy usage. There is the release of greenhouse gases, and land disturbances caused by the production, consumption and disposal of some of our favourite holiday items. If we can all try to reduce our eco-footprint, it would go a far way in protecting our environment.Environmentally friendly tips for the seasonSome ways we can make small changes, but have a big impact;• Make at least some of your Christmas decorations. At the EPA, we would have shared ideas about reusing and up cycling throughout the year on several television, radio and outreach programmes. This is a good time to put into practice what you would have learnt, and make attractive decorations. CDs, cardboards, mason jars, glass and plastic bottles, and many other items around the home can be creatively transformed.• Reuse packaging cartons and shipping materials when you go shopping for new furniture and other household items.• Remember to unplug Christmas lights in and around the home when going to bed or leaving home. This will help you to conserve energy and, most of all, save you some needed cash for after the holidays. It also reduces the risk of fires.• Look for energy saving lights and if you can use automatic timers to turn them on and off. This will not only be good for the environment, but also for safety; and will give you peace of mind while you’re away.• Keep it simple: One thoughtful gift is better than six wrapped packages of unwanted gifts. Plan ahead.• Give the gift of an experience: Music lessons, lessons for a new hobby, a massage, a trip to a resort or one of Guyana’s Protected Areas are perfect for friends who want to try something new; and the best part is you don’t have to wrap the gift.• Give monetary donations to a local charity and environmental clubs in your community, so they can execute projects that would enhance the community.• Make gift-giving a bit fun this year, don’t wrap gifts. Hide them and give the recipients clues. Make the search a treasure hunt.• Donate: Give used items in good condition to persons in need or to charitable organisations, instead of throwing them out. This will go a far way in reducing waste.• Make a list: Do not be carried away with all the fancy things you see; make a list, stick to your list, and purchase durable items which can be stored and reused another year. Avoid excessive and impulsive shopping at all cost!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.