Lighting the Tree

There are many traditions marking the start of the holiday season.  For some, it's the loop of Christmas Muzak playing throughout the stores as soon as Halloween decorations are put away. For others, it's the shopping frenzy of Black Friday.  For me, the season starts when my Christmas tree is up and decorated.

Every year, thousands of people in New York and across the country kick-off the Christmas season with the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony. For 76 years, this tradition has marked the start of the holiday decorating and party season.

This year, the eight-ton Norway spruce will be decorated with 30,000 eco-friendly LED bulbs -- that's stringing five miles of energy efficient lights! Talk about an inspiration for a greener holiday.

If you're wondering how to make your own holiday greener, there are many eco-friendly options to consider as you get festive this year. For example, find out which is better for the environment: a real tree or an artificial one.  Here's a hint: I can smell that fresh pine fragrance already.

After the presents are opened, you can give your tree a new life with the help of recycling programs that turn celebrated trees into useful mulch and more. In fact, last year's Rockefeller Center tree was used as lumber to build a new home for a family displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The Davidson family, the recipients of the Habitat for Humanity home, will take part in this year's tree lighting ceremony.

Happy decorating and happy holidays!

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