A Green Holiday Season
It's easy for people to get sucked into the commercialism of the holiday season, but it doesn't have to be that way. Go back to the roots of the holidays, and use it to spend time with loved ones and show them how much your appreciate them with tokens of affection. And do it all the "green" way!
If you're hosting a holiday dinner, free range turkeys aren't just for Thanksgiving. Learn more about buying a turkey from a local farm. Buy other locally grown food if it's seasonal, like yummy butternut squash!
If you celebrate Christmas, buy a real Christmas tree as opposed to an artificial one and light up the tree with LED Christmas lights. Buy ornaments made by local artisans or make your own! If you have kids, make ornaments out of things like egg cartons, yogurt containers, or other things that might otherwise get thrown in the trash.
If you're going to send traditional holiday cards, buy ones printed on recycled paper. The even better option is to send e-cards!
What about when it comes time to shop? (Don't forget to try to make Black Friday a little greener if you feel the need to brave the crowds!) Before going shopping, ask your friends and relatives what they need and want. It's not good for the environment to just give little trinkets that might be made overseas with PVC especially when they might end up just catching dust. Avoid buying cheap junk just for the sake of giving a gift.
Here are some green gift ideas:
- Urge friends and family to give you used items. Hand-me-down clothes or toys for the kids (they'll never know the difference!), cool finds from thrift shops, or stuff they're done using.
- Food! I'm a big fan of receiving food as a gift. Fair trade organic chocolate for the chocolate lover? How about some fair trade organic coffee for the coffee lover? Local beer and wine can also make wonderful treats. Oooh, and locally made cheese. And jam! The list goes on and on and this is making me hungry!
- Find crafts made by local artisans.
- Got friends or relatives who are gardeners? Seed packets make great stocking stuffers! They might not be able to use them until next spring, but they do make great gifts.
- Buy a membership for a CSA.
- Homemade gifts. Get crafty and get creative!
- Make a donation in someones name to a green organization or adopt an animal.
- Gift certificates for iTunes. Who needs pesky CDs these days, anyway? Just remember to select gift certificates NOT gift cards. Gift cards are made of plastic and will never biodegrade. With the gift certificates, you can email it to the recipient or print it out yourself (on recycled paper, of course!)
- If you need some toys, check out Nature Mom's guide to green holiday shopping.
When wrapping your gifts, check out some eco-friendly gift wrapping options!