The Holidays undoubtedly challenge our “greenness”. Reduce, reuse and recycle can get pushed aside while we succumb to overeating, overspending and overdoing. With some effort it is possible for the holidays and a green lifestyle to coexist. There are a few simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying all that the holidays have to offer.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO HELP YOU CELEBRATE IN THE GREEN:
- BUY LOCAL Support the little local business rather than the big box store. Go for gifts that don’t travel far to get under your tree. Head to a thrift or antique shop for a unique gift with a back-story.
- SUPPORT COMPANIES THAT GIVE BACK Do a little bit of leg work before buying-look at the company’s mission statement and see if it jives with you. Some companies give a percentage of their proceeds to charity, others are generous with their employees. Its all around good to know where your purchases are coming from.
- GREENER HOLIDAY CARD OPTIONS Where do all those holiday cards end up? In the garbage-unless you are like me and love to look at them a year down the road. Time to make the switch to a greener option such as an eCard. For more green holiday card suggestions check out Green Talk.
- WRAPPING PAPER AND RIBBON I know they look pretty-but all that paper and all those ribbons end up in the trash. Use and reuse what you already have in your house. Here is a very cool way to make bows from magazine pages and chip bags.
- CUT BACK Reevaluate the gifts you “need” to buy. Maybe a name draw would work rather than buying a gift for every adult in your family. It would ease the stress, cost less and probably be more thoughtful.
- VOLUNTEER Nothing will help you feel the holiday spirit more than helping someone in need. There are volunteer opportunities all over-check out VolunteerMatch for all sorts of suggestions in your community.
- TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF Gasp! Who has time for that? You do. That might mean stopping for a cup of tea or coffee, taking a yoga class in the middle of the most crazy day, going to sleep early or taking a bath (bubble bath of course!). It doesn’t mean eating fast food, skipping your workouts or pulling all-nighters to wrap those gifts.
- GREEN YOUR TREE Wondering which is greener-real or artificial? There are lots of factors to take into consideration. If you opt for a real tree- try to get something locally and organically grown. Artificial tree-make sure it was made in the US to reduce the amount of petroleum used to get it to you. Also, if it is made in the US it is less likely the tree was exposed to lead or other toxins. How about renting a tree? The tree comes to you in a pot and after the holidays it is planted. Now that’s green.
- PARTY WITH A PURPOSE Have your guests bring a canned food or other donation to your holiday party. Don’t use disposable plates, cups and flatware-use the real deal.
- HOLIDAY LIGHTS Most of you already have your lights hung and shinning- so for next year, save energy, and money by switching your old strands of incandescent bulbs with new LEDs (light emitting diodes). Make sure your lights are on a timer to save some additional pennies.
Got tips? Do share.
*Top photo used under Creative Commons from Wendy Harmon