With the Holidays fast approaching our thoughts turn to celebrations, cards, wrapping, gifts and decorations among many other things. We may stop and ask ourselves, “How can I celebrate and maintain a ‘green’ lifestyle?”
To begin with, think of the three R’s. They are reduce, reuse and recycle. Try to reduce the amount of items that will go to the landfill. This year I plan to send out emailed holiday greetings. Traditional holiday cards create a lot of paper waste. Yes, you can purchase recycled paper, but it still ends up going to the landfill. If someone insists on having a card to display, then they can print out the emailed one. Also, by emailing cards, I am not contributing to emissions caused by the transportation of mail. Reusing wrapping paper and gift bags is also an effective way to reduce waste. Lastly, recycle as much as possible. By recycling, this means taking items to the local recycling center or donating them to someone in need.
When purchasing toys, keep in mind that the average child most likely has an abundance of toys. Instead, consider giving one gift and then donating, in the child’s name, to an environmentally minded organization. Alternatively, you could contribute to or start their college fund. As parents, encourage children to donate unused toys, rather than throwing them in the trash. Look for toys that do not need batteries. Batteries often are not recycled and end up in landfills, thus leaching mercury. If a toy that needs batteries is a must, then think about rechargeable batteries. With all the recent media attention to toys made in China, try to find toys made in the USA. Look for toys made with natural, organic materials and painted with non-toxic paints.
Go out in nature to find decorations for your home. After all, nobody can “decorate” as well as Mother Nature can. Pumpkins and colorful leaves make beautiful fall decorations. During Yuletide, look for evergreens, pine cones, holly, and mistletoe. Also, consider a live tree instead of a cut one and plant it in your yard after the season. What a beautiful memory to see this tree grow year after year.
Last but not least, what about the feast? Look for natural and organic options. Try to buy from local farms. It may take a bit more searching at first to find natural alternatives but it is well worth it. Our bodies and the environment will benefit from it. Look for foods that are free of preservatives, artificial coloring, and flavors. I always read the labels when food shopping and I avoid buying products with ingredients that do not sound like a food item. For an elegant and eco-friendly table, use your fine dinner dishes, a cloth table cover and cloth napkins instead of disposable varieties.
Most importantly, remember that the holidays are a time of sharing, love, and awareness. Capture the feelings of the season and carry them throughout the year. Be mindful of the impact we all have on our precious Mother Earth and treat her with respect and love.