by Ingrid Justick:
Vol. 27, No. 5
Make a difference this Holiday Season with presents that bring joy to friends and family and our planet. Sharing gifts with others is a wonderful way to celebrate the abundance and joy of the season. It is also a great way to support the causes you care about and earth-friendly companies you respect.
Give green gifts, such as organic cotton sweaters and locally produced food baskets. Handmade gifts are the most cherished. As an alternative, gifts of service, like car washing, dog walking or babysitting have no negative environmental impacts, and are of personal significance. Rather then asking friends or family members what they want, ask what they like to do. Give tickets to concerts, shows, or sporting events. Planting a tree in someone’s name is very special. When shopping for gifts, lighten your impact on the environment, and create more cheer by carpooling with friends. If you take the time to select eco-friendly gifts, please do not use generic wrapping paper. When using recycled paper you reduce forestry, water, energy, and global warming impacts.
Entertain with real plates, cups, silverware and napkins instead of disposable goods. Plan a holiday party with an eco-friendly theme. Make homemade gifts from recycled items, such as fabrics or old photos. Or, host a “good use” party at which you collect old winter clothing for your local homeless shelter.
Decorating: Buy holiday lights made with LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) available from hardware stores. The bulbs are 90% more efficient than traditional lights, use only 5% of the energy, and last up to 100 times longer. Rather then filling the house with store purchased ornaments, which are easily broken and are destined for landfills, make your own decorations. Create wreaths and centerpieces from biodegradable pine cones, pomegranates, cinnamon sticks, or dried fruit. For your front door, purchase a biodegradable wreath from birdseed, and string popcorn and cranberries into garland for your tree instead of tinsel, which takes years to decompose.
Recycle fresh Christmas trees. While you need not feel guilty about purchasing a cut tree (almost all are grown on tree farms and have no impact on forests), used Christmas trees create significant landfill waste. To find out where your tree can become mulch for local gardens or parks, log on to www.earth911.org and enter your zip code.
And most important, is the gift of togetherness:
Take a night off from the season’s obligations, gather your friends or family and become aware of all the blessings in your lives.