Live More Green for the Holidays

Live More Green for the Holidays

  • posted on: December 17, 2016
  • posted by: Robin Crowder
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By Brenda Vanderloop, 21 Acres
Celebrate this festive season with new traditions. Incorporate green practices into your holiday activities—save money, limit waste, and contribute positively to the environment. Follow these simple, low cost tips to help you live more green throughout the season:

Living Greens
Instead of cutting down a live tree this holiday, purchase a living Christmas tree that can be replanted outdoors. You’ll enjoy the fresh greenery and aroma of a living tree, and ultimately provide food and shelter for local wildlife while adding to the beauty of your landscape.

Make your own festive wreath, swag or centerpiece. Enjoy the natural elements as you take a walk in your yard or garden and gather grasses, twigs, stalks, cones, berries, dried flowers and seeds. When the holidays are over place the wreath in your yard for the birds to enjoy.

Reduce waste by decorating with items that are energy-efficient and reusable; use objects found in nature or around the house. Make banners, garland and ornaments from paper, cloth, and other materials stashed in your closet. Up-cycle old dishes into ornaments or mosaics or visit thrift stores for materials; some people’s trash are other’s treasures!

Consider using LED lights, which use up to 90% less energy than traditional lights. This eco-friendly option is improving each year; now you can find warm whites and brightly color lights.

Gifts and Giving
Plan on simple gift ideas that won’t overwhelm your family’s time or budget, go unused, or contribute to a landfill. Here are some alternative ideas for your list:

• Homemade Gifts: baked goods, salsas and jams; family photos or calendars; a sewing project (for those with enviable skill); jars of herbs or herbal teas.
• Gifts of Time: make-ahead meals; babysitting; a family recipe book; performance of chores (maybe wash a loved one’s car); an outdoor adventure; pet walks; or a personal letter or poem.
• Experiences: dance or music lessons; cooking classes; tickets to an event; a movie night; help with technology or social media profiles; share a skill like photography, gardening or bookkeeping.
• Charitable Giving: There are an endless amount of opportunities to give time or money to organizations in the community. Plan a volunteer day or help someone less privileged by making a donation in honor of a loved one.

If you do make a purchase, try to find an option that is environmentally-friendly, local, and sustainably-minded. 21 Acres has done research for you; browse our Green Resources Directory for ideas in a variety of categories.

Wrapping and Shipping
Looking for fun, green alternatives to wrapping paper? Try using the newspaper comics, old maps, or paper bags decorated with markers and stamps. Liven things up with reclaimed ribbon, scarves or jewelry. If you are good with a needle and thread, sew re-useable bags.

Pay attention to how you’re having things shipped; ship direct with a gift note, don’t ship twice. Always avoid packing peanuts and excess plastic—unbuttered popcorn is a great alternative! And, when you can, support businesses in your community and buy locally; reduce your carbon footprint by avoiding purchasing gifts that are shipped cross-country.

Change up your holiday this year—create new holiday traditions that reduce your impact on the environment by implementing some of the above tips. Enjoy the season, and plan to live more green every day of the year!

Published in the Red-Wood Magazine; Dec. 2016