Now that the holidays are upon us, it’s time to reflect on ways to be green. I know, I know. We do this every year. But it’s always nice to have a refresher course. Even the White House has gone green this year. So if Michele Obama can do it, so can the rest of us.
To some, these recommendations may be new or interesting information. To others, it will seem like common sense. Like suggesting one should bathe frequently and floss often. (There are some people I know who actually need those little pearls of wisdom on personal hygiene.)
Here are some fabulous options if you haven’t thought of them already:
1) Cut your own tree. Nothing beats a local Christmas tree. We buy one every year at the Jones Family Farm in Shelton on the second Saturday in December. We’ve been doing that for almost the last ten years—ever since I was pregnant with my first child, who was nearly two weeks overdue, and I thought the hike up the hill would induce labor. (It didn’t.) And don’t forget to recycle. A fake tree can’t be recycled and is, frankly, just an environmental nightmare. But a live tree can be repurposed as mulch or even a handy homemade bird feeder. (A little peanut butter and bird seed go along way.) And if you’re lucky enough to live out west, try CarbonSync.com. They are a Canadian company that will “rent” you a potted Douglas Fir Christmas tree (up to 6 feet). They pick it up when the holiday is over and replant it. Et voilà. Christmas accomplished.
2) Choose LED Christmas lights. Albeit more expensive, they will save 90% more energy than traditional lights and lower your electric bill. Most people leave their tree and house decoration lights on for long periods of time. And these days, you can find them just about anywhere—Target, Home Depot, your local hardware store. So for a few extra bucks, why not make a more energy-conscious choice?
3) Buy local and organic foods. If you’ve been reading this site with any regularity, you have already heard this mantra. But at the risk of boring you to tears, I will repeat myself. There is no need to buy foods that were grown in a hot house and shipped from Ecuador when you can get perfectly good food within 100 miles of your home. Granted, winter is upon us and the abundance of summer is long gone. But there are plenty of winter farmers’ markets. Hop on LocalHarvest.org and find one near you.
4) Think green décor. Just as eating local foods is a good thing, so it using edible foods as mantle display. Cut flowers can be shipped from far-off locations offering a hefty carbon footprint for those rare orchids and calla lilies you love. But a few well-placed gourds, or even evergreen branches for that matter, can give a homey feel to any fireplace.
5) Shop locally. For God’s sake, don’t drive to the mall. If at all possible, support your local shops. I realize that for some people living in more rural areas the closest mall may be the only option. But for those who live in relatively well-developed towns, take the time to visit your local toy stores and boutiques.
6) Use Recycled Paper. There are wrapping papers galore that are made from recycled paper. And if you don’t choose an e-Card, choose a company that prints on recycled paper. For both of these items, try Green Field Paper Company. While based in San Diego, they mill their paper in New England. Even better, their cards come with embedded seeds. So when the holiday is over, just plant, water, and watch them grow!
Whatever you do this holiday season, remember that it’s not about the commercialism. It’s about remember what’s important and cherishing it: Family, Friends, and our Environment.
Images courtesy of FreeFoto.com.