Connecting Environment, Economy, and Community

Green Your Holiday


Holiday Greening Tips for the Home

Making small changes in your holiday routine can make a big difference for the environment. Follow these helpful hints for making your household green this holiday season.

Shop Green

bigstock_Green_Shopping_Bag_2107676Shop at thrift, antique or consignment shops and local stores and businesses. You may just find that perfect, one of a kind gift while supporting your local economy.

  • Think ahead! Consolidating your shopping trips saves fuel (and aggravation), and you’ll avoid those last minute frenzies when you won’t have time to make careful gift choices.
  • Bring reusable shopping bags or consolidate purchases rather than getting a new bag at each store.
  • For gifts you will mail, choose easily shippable items that won’t require excess packaging.

Give Green

  • bigstock_A_Stack_Of_Christmas_Cookies_10258124Give your time. Spend time with those you love, help someone with a needed task, or even donate your time as a volunteer.
  • Make homemade gifts! Who doesn’t like fresh cookies, bread or jam (in reusable tins or jars, of course)?
  • Give gifts that don’t create waste. Consider concert or movie tickets, a national parks pass or a membership to local botanical gardens, zoos or aquariums. You may also want to adopt endangered animals or pieces of rainforest land in someone’s name.
  • Choose gifts with an environmental message: rechargeable batteries with a battery-powered gift, refillable thermoses and water bottles, canvas tote bags, nature books or gifts made from recycled items.
  • Give gifts that get “used up.” Candles, soap or seeds for a garden are all great gifts!
  • Be sure to donate unwanted gifts, along with last year’s gifts, to charity.

 

Wrap Green

  • bigstock_Small_Red_Bag_6406600Make your own wrapping paper. Decorate old newspapers or grocery bags with holiday themes. Get creative and use old maps, drawstring fabric bags, foil or kid’s artwork. Paper bags can also be used to wrap packages for mailing.
  • Make fabric gift bags that can be reused year after year.
  • With a warm iron, press dried flowers or fall foliage between two sheets of waxed paper. Glue on a box or use several sheets together for wrapping.
  • Make the wrap part of the gift. For kitchen gifts, wrap a gift in a dish towel, tablecloth or napkin. For bathroom gifts, wrap in a bath towel.
  • Use old holiday cards as gift tags.
  • Don’t wrap at all. Hide the presents, plant clues to where they’re hidden and make the kids’ search into a treasure hunt.
  • Reuse and Recycle! Reuse foam peanuts, bubble wrap and gift and mailing boxes or take them to a shipping store that will. Be sure to recycle what you can, along with your homemade wrapping paper, with your curbside recycling.

 

Decorate Green

  • wreath2Conserve energy. Buy outdoor light strands made with LED lights or that are wired in parallel so they are not ruined when one bulb goes out.
  • Remove an invasive red cedar and bring it home to decorate.  Be sure to replant living trees in your yard and mulch/recycle cut trees.
  • Reuse old holiday cards! Display good holiday wishes from years past, or use old cards to make tree ornaments.
  • Decorate with natural or edible items. Branches, pine cones, leaves, berries and gourds are beautiful. Decorated cookies, fresh fruit and holiday candy not only look festive, they are delicious!

 

Celebrate Green

  • bigstock_Champagne_Toast_476574Send green invitations to holiday parties. Use e-vites, purchase or make invitations printed on recycled paper or design invitation postcards rather than using extra envelopes.
  • Encourage guests to carpool. This will help the environment while also promoting the use of designated drivers.
  • Turn down the heat before guests arrive. The extra body heat of your cheery guests will warm up the house in no time!
  • Make an inventory of your durable plates, glasses, linens and utensils. Estimate your number of guests and determine whether you have enough durables for the party. If not, borrow some extras from a friend or relative.
  • Serve organic, locally-grown food and organic wine or champagne. Serve beverages from pitchers or other large dispensers. If you must purchase individual drinks, buy beverages in aluminum cans or glass jars instead of plastic bottles.
  • Plan meals wisely and practice portion control to minimize waste.
  • When preparing vegetable platters, fruit pies, etc. compost the leftover fruits, vegetables and peels.
  • Recycle! Set up convenient containers for recycling bottles, cans, ribbons and bows for reuse, and anything else you need.
  • Send your guests home with leftover food. To wrap the food, reuse bread wrappers. You can also donate extra food to local food banks!