Michelle Madden
Photo: Courtesy of Michelle Madden
The decorations: "Homemade decorations are an easy way to prevent product waste. One of my fondest childhood memories is of making ornaments out of cookies my mother had burned."

The food: "The holidays can cause enormous food waste. Have a potluck dinner—people enjoy sharing food, and if a dish isn't eaten, instead of throwing it out the guests can take it back home. Also try composting. If you don't have the space to start your own compost, many local farmers' markets accept organic kitchen waste. Just keep the scraps in your freezer until you're ready to drop them off."

The gifts: "Challenge yourself not to buy a single piece of wrapping paper this year. Instead, use old tissue paper, newspapers, or fabric that's lying around."

See Michelle's Green Plan: Save money—and the planet—with these simple changes