Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dreaming of a Green Christmas: Easy Ways to Gift & Give Back to the Planet this Holiday Season

Its that time of year again!! Tis the season to give gifts, lots of gifts. But lets not forget that tis the perfect season & time to "reduce, reuse & recycle". While you are decking the halls with bells of holly, basting the turkey and humming to the tune of Jingle Bells.

As well as scouring the aisle, browsing the web for the latest gift must haves, and nestling your children in bed as they anxiously await the pitter-patter of footsteps from Ol' Saint Nick & Rudolph.

With the season of gathering, giving and spreading Christmas cheer upon us we can't forget to give back to the planet. Here are a few simple ways to help you be kinder to the planet & your pockets over the holidays.

1. Conserve Energy- Use LED Christmas lights and say so long to that costly light bill. Consider that low light bill a Christmas gift from Mother Earth !!

2. Something Old, Now Something New- Some of the best gifts given are made from the heart, by using recycled or salvaged materials instead of buying something brand new keeps materials out of landfills and collecting dust. But if you are still on the look out for high quality goods try flea markets, vintage and second hand shops for affordable and quality gifts from books, accessories, art, and bone china to everything in between. With a little magic, zero VOC paint, time, creativity, personal touch beautiful reused ribbon, and recycled gift-wrap. Whoa-lah the perfect gift and a great way to spread some Christmas cheer for the receiver and the planet.

3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle- Instead of purchasing commercial gift wrap you can wrap gifts in reusable gift wrap store in that attic chest in your attic, scrap cloth, reuse newspaper (the Sunday Funnies), scarf, magazines reuse, gift bags or purchase reusable shopping bags that the receiver can use all year round.

4. Purchase Consumables- Give the gift of a bouquet or seeds to be planted in the spring, dried fruit & nuts, fair trade coffee, organic tea, a plate of organic hand made cookies that won't leave a trace. While the food and drink will be eaten, the flowers can be composted. These are gifts you won't find lurching in the dark corners of your friends closet when you come visit. Also, you want have to worry about having the gift re-gifted back to you

5. Buy Local- Buy local and make an earthly difference this Christmas. Buying local is a great way to find unique one of a kind gifts that tell a story for the person who has everything. Not to mention since shipping & trucking is not required you are helping to do your part to reduce CO2 emissions. As always before you purchase anything make sure you know the gift recipients likes & dislikes and that they will use it.

6. Creative Gift Tags & More- Create gift tags made from last years Christmas cards that are beautiful, artistic & creative instead of purchasing gift tags. Also use ribbons like raffia or things from nature to add that special touch from pinecones, to twigs, to berries instead of synthetic ribbon. This could be great for family bonding. This sounds like the start of a wonderful holiday reef to adorn your door & fireplace. Also using the same materials you and the kids can build memories and create handmade ornaments to dress the tree. So get crafting DIYers (Do It Yourselfers), crafters and Martha Stewart fans.

7. Dine by candle light- Turn off lights during Christmas and dine by candlelight. Use soy, vegetable wax or beeswax candles, which are made of sustainable ingredients. Not only does candlelight create a soothing, beautiful, elegant mood. You conserve energy and help the planet. The perfect mood can be complete with out a little Bing Crosby & Sinatra Christmas serenade.

8. Paper or Plastic-Better yet neither-Skip the disposable tableware for dinner and parties. Instead opt for bamboo tableware or grandmas china. But if you are hesitant about tending to a pile of dishes either enlist the help of Fido or use disposable recycled paper dinnerware.

9. Eco-friendly & Energy Savings Gift- Make your Holidays carbon neutral. Consider giving the gift of carbon offsets for that commuting co-worker or a Zipcar membership for friends and family who use taxi's to get around the city. Check out and

10. Local & Organic Festive Feast- Prepare a local, organic Christmas feast using the best locally grown, all natural seasonal, and free-range ingredients minus the chemicals and pesticides. So dig in and gobble gobble!!!

11. Decorate then Plant the Tree- Buy a potted or balled Christmas tree (roots still attached) so you can replant it in the backyard or donate it to the parks department. Choose a real one that's grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers—ask local merchants if they have an organic farm supplier—or order from, a grower that ships to 46 states and uses sustainable methods. Then recycle: many municipalities collect trees to mulch.

*However if you are going to go for an artificial pre-lite tree opt for one with LED lights to save on energy consumption.

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