There is so much talk these days about “going green” or “being green” for the holidays that some people may wonder how they could ever pull off a great holiday and still have it be environmentally-friendly. Well, to be honest, it’s not as hard as you’d think. Your holiday can be just as green as the next guy if you do it right. Here are a few tips for making your holiday as memorable as ever…and green too!
1) Plan your holiday meal out ahead of time: Planning your meal allows you the time to pick up fresh produce, fresh herbs and buy locally grown foods for your meal. For example, rather than running out and buying some canned vegetables, get fresh ones. Fresh corn tastes great, is good for you and looks just as appetizing (or in my opinion, better) on your holiday table as canned corn.
A fresh salad made with local produce looks great and tastes wonderful. It doesn’t take much to get fresh instead of pre-packaged either. If you are looking for high quality, without the high cost, I recommend local growers.
Then after your meal, be sure to package up any leftovers in re-usable containers and have your guests take them home. Why waste food, right?
2) Get creative on your gifts: You can give someone the gift of a tree that they can enjoy in their home over the holidays and then plant outside after the holidays. You can give homemade food – many people love receiving the gift of a homemade meal or dessert. Make your own gifts; my aunt makes ornaments every year and sends them to the entire family. She makes them using old pieces of material/fabrics and bits and pieces of things she has around the house. They are actually very creative and resourceful. They don’t cost much to make and its one of my favorite holiday memories to be able to see what “new” ornament she sent so we could put it on the tree.
Now as far as the kids are concerned, these types of gifts might not cut it. Like my kids, they probably want toys and the latest popular ones at that. But, you can always do what we are doing this year. I told my daughter that in order for her to get new toys for Christmas, we needed to go through her old toys and find the ones she didn’t use anymore. Then we could donate her old toys to kids who didn’t have many toys or who wanted some like she had and then we would be able to get new toys. She was very excited and wanted to ensure good kids got her old toys.
It’s a great solution for parents….cleans out the toys the kids don’t use anymore, gets them into the idea of giving and sharing with others and makes room for any new toys. And remember their “new” toys don’t need to come from name-brand stores either. There are many good toys to be found at discount stores and/or consignment stores that may not be 100% new but are clean and new to your kids. So be smart when you do your holiday shopping.
3) If you are traveling for your holidays take steps to lower your CO2 emissions. If you have to fly, have a shuttle service take you to the airport. If you are driving, see if you can car-pool with other family members and/or use a proven fuel additive to cut down on your emissions or even rent a zipcar for your trip. Each of these could help lower your impact on the environment, while still ensuring you have a fun trip!
4) Remember to clean with natural cleaning products. Especially if you are having family into your home, you’ll want to ensure it isn’t filled with chemical fumes and toxins. Your home can be just as clean with natural home-made cleaners. Besides they are usually cheaper and without the added chemicals. Then fill up your home with the fresh smells of homemade cooking – you’re family will love it.
I could go on and on as I know there are many other “green” steps you could take but I wanted to give you just a few simple steps so you can see it doesn’t take much to make your holiday a little greener. It may not be as green as it could be, but it’s a good place to start! What are your tips for making your holiday greener?