December 8, 2011

How to “Green” Your Holiday Season

The color green is a natural during the holidays. Why not take it literally, too? More and more people are becoming concerned about the wasteful nature of the holidays, and going green and approaching the holidays in an environmentally-friendly way is one way to stave off the waste. For those concerned about global warming and other climate issues, greening the holidays is part of ensuring there will be green holidays to come.

Here are some tips on how to green your holiday season.

Green Gifts

Giving green can take several different forms. One approach is to shop at second-hand stores and antique stores, or even yard sales. This reduces waste by reusing what’s already available.

Another way to give green is to make your own gifts, such as bath salts or potpourri. If you grow herbs, you can make herbal tea blends to give away. Children enjoy homemade gifts, too, such as handmade doll houses, hand-sewn stuffed animals, puppets, and puzzles. And don’t forget homemade candy and baked goods!

Consider shopping in your own attic and basement, too. Since used gifts are becoming more acceptable, it might be best not to try too hard to make it look like a new, store-bought gift. Instead, point out the value of giving used items and your green intentions.

Green Decorations

Go green in your holiday decorations by going for the green outdoors. Cut fresh greens from evergreen trees such as pine and holly, shrubs such as yew or boxwood, or vines such as English ivy. You can make garlands, wreaths, and swags from these simple items from nature. Gather pine cones, nuts, and interesting twigs and seed pods. These make attractive displays as-is, or you can spray-paint them silver and/or gold.

Keeping safety in mind, use natural candles instead of electric lights and LED lights instead of standard holiday bulbs.

An interesting, simple idea for natural candle holders is cross-sections of small logs. Using a hand saw, electric saw, or bow saw, you can cut a thick branch (about 3-4 inches in diameter) into cross-sections at 2-3 inch intervals. Use a drill to make a small hole the diameter of the candle you want to display (about 3/4 inches for a taper candle). Insert the candle and light!

Green Food

When you serve up your holiday meals, buffets, and hors d’oeuvres, think green. Foods that are locally grown and raised and/or organic are considered the most environmentally friendly. Homemade foods rather than packaged ones are greener, since it reduces wasteful packaging. Serve foods and drinks on reusable dishes and cups (a great place to look for holiday dishes if you don’t have any are antique stores and yard sales).

Green Cards

If you send holiday cards, consider using those printed on recycled paper or paper made from grass and other plant materials. Aside from saving trees, you’ll also be giving cards that are unique.

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Alexis Rodrigo