If you’ve been procrastinating about holiday plans, you have a perfect opportunity to do something really good for yourself, your family and friends, and the Earth. Yes, that’s right! Make this holiday the “greenest” ever. Here are some suggestions:
PARTY BASICS: Having a party? Use recycled and natural materials for decorations. Cranberries, cloves stuck into oranges or apples, plus scented candles are much better than plastic decorations. Use re-usable cups for drinks or better yet, purchase inexpensive glasses or mugs to use at the party, then let the guests take them home for years of use!
CHANUKAH & KWAANZA: Chanukah is called “the festival of lights” and Kwaanza also uses candles to express the meaning of the holiday. But the ancients didn’t have electricity! Electric menorahs (Kinaras for Kwaanza) are safe for young children and pets, but candles or oil lamps are traditional, beautiful, and much more environmentally-friendly. * Make sure that you place your lights away from drafts so the candles burn slowly and evenly, and never leave a lit menorah (or any lit candles) unattended.
HOLIDAY DECORATING: As I’ve said previously, the best decorations and gifts are not always from a store. Avoid plastics and other materials that don’t break down and degrade in landfills! Use re-useable bags for gifts instead of wads of wrapping paper. Even if you’re not particularly “crafty,” home made decorations and gifts are light on your wallet make a big impression. Check magazines and online sites for holiday how-to’s on lots . For funk try an old fashioned garland. Get “edible” decorations for your garden or trees, so the birds and other animals can enjoy some holiday cheer, as well. The most traditional, fragrant and beautiful decorations for inside or outside, are from natural materials and plants (e.g. holly, pine boughs, bowls of nuts, apples, candles).
GREEN COMPANIES: support green companies and organizations: a quick look at the net will give you lists of eco-friendly companies. If you are thinking of purchasing products for your home, or for gifts, or for your party, check first and consider going with “the green.” Support those who care about the Earth!
GIFT GIVING: If you didn’t get all your holiday shopping done, no need to race to the mall and deal with the disgruntled throngs. Why not consider doing something different, and green, this year? instead of buying a gift, give the gift of yourself. Offer your services for something specific. Baby-sit to give your favorite couple some romantic time together. Cater a brunch for your always-too-busy friend. Be a personal shopper for an elderly relative. Make a donation (in their name) to a worthy charity), treat a child to a special day just for them (E.g. holiday on ice, the zoo, to a genuine “ladies tea, ” camping, fishing, the movies complete with popcorn. Announce your gift with a certificate, or simply send it via email and save a tree!