Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Staying green for the holiday

Recently watching the Story of Stuff, I think about Christmas and instead of initially getting excited, it makes me slightly nervous. Nonetheless, thanks to the Internet, those thoughts quickly subsided. People speak of how Christmas has turned into a huge spending free-for-all, leaving the mall with arms full of bags and a credit card on its way to being maxed. What is an easy to get back on track to recognizing the holidays for what they were intended to be? With a sustainable approach, of course...

Earth Easy, along with probably every other green website has taken the initiative to share how they would suggest remaining on your green feet this holiday.

Finding the perfect gift is not always about the cost or the size. Purchasing services and entertainment supports going against newly manufactured items. Concert tickets, sports events, lawn care services, or cooking classes can make the recipient just as content as a brand new cell phone. These days as we get older, most of us buy what we need. So giving a home-made or antique gift is more personal and environmentally friendly anyways!

Starting an eco-friendly family tradition or event is not only a way to keep sustainability in mind, but also a way to get back to the real tradition of spending time together over the holidays. Nature hikes, planting trees, and decorating trees for birds are all ways to really spend time together and also appreciate nature for more than just the cold toes it gives you!

Be aware of your decorations this year. Are you one of those that crams your yard full of deer, trees, and sleighs? Sticking with a simple light decoration keeps you from wasting energy and also gives your home a more elegant look. Although there are a few night owls out there, turning your lights off when you go to bed or getting a timer to turn them on and off at a reasonable hour saves a lot of power as well!

You may think that buying an artificial tree is better because it is reusable, it is actually best to buy a real tree. The PVC plastic in artificial trees, along with the energy used to manufacture the tree is a huge harm to our environment. Real trees are grown on tree farms and are replaced every year. Also, most people do not keep artificial trees forever so enjoy the scent of pine and the quality time spent picking out the perfect tree!

Home-made cards and alternatives to wrapping paper are fun ways to get the creative juices flowing and be more personalized with gifts! Instead of spending all your time hustling through a crammed department store, sit by the fire place with a warm cup of cocoa and write fun personalized messages to your loved ones! Use old fabric to make wrappings that can be used for towels or scarve, maps, calendars, and newspapers are also great re-use ways to avoid buying wrap!

After Christmas is over, use earth911.com to find a place to take all your replace electronics, compost your tree, save your bows and salvaged paper for next year, and recycle the rest!

It seems to me like being sustainable over the holidays will not only give you satisfaction from not wasting enormous amounts of energy and resources, but give you even more from getting in touch with your creative side, spending time with family, and avoiding the stress of the chaotic shopping!

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