The holidays are quickly approaching and there is still much to do. Take a moment from your hectic holiday planning and check out these simple, no-nonsense ways to green your holiday season. These tips may even save you some time to sit back, relax and actually enjoy the season with your family and friends.
Here are some great ideas for gift wrapping alternatives.
- Scarves, handkerchiefs or bandannas
- Old posters and maps
- Pages from a child’s coloring book taped together (this is especially nice for relatives who would enjoy the artwork)
- Old newspapers
- Last year’s holiday paper (press with warm iron if wrinkled)
- Wallpaper scraps
- Pictures or advertisements from magazines and catalogs (you probably shouldn’t use the Victoria’s Secret catalog)
- Sunday comic pages
- Paper bags from the grocery store
Bows and ribbons:
- Reusable items, such as hair bows, ornaments, shoe laces or toys
- Stencils or pictures from holiday cards pasted onto a plain brown paper bag or box
- Last year’s holiday cards cut up for gift tags
- Old neckties
Packing material alternatives:
- Biodegradable starch packing peanuts (available at a lot of shipping stores and online)
- Crumpled ads from the newspaper (The ink on glossy paper won’t smear as it does on the rest of the newspaper)
Instead of giving the usual gifts of plastic toys made in China or the latest and greatest electronic gadget; consider giving thoughtful gifts this year that are not resource-consuming. Some of the most favored and remembered gifts are those we can make ourselves.
- Look for gifts that are unpackaged or minimally packaged, without unnecessary plastic wrap or cardboard backing.
- Evaluate the gift for simplicity and durability.
- Buy durable gifts with long-term warranties (cue Lexus commercial).
- Know the store’s return policy and include tags or receipts for easier exchange or return.
- Consider the impact of your gift: Is it environmentally friendly and safe for children? Will it be reusable? Is it recyclable or made from recycled materials?
- Purchase holiday cards made from recycled paper or make your own from items found around the home.
- Give an experience (for example, a hike in the mountains or a day trip on a train).
- Give a garden! Seeds, gloves, tools, etc.
- Create a family recipe book.
After the holidays
- Save packing material, wrapping and tissue paper for reuse
- Cut up leftover wrap to make scratch pads
- Save bows, ribbon, tags, festive bags and boxes for next year
- Recycle your tree! Some communities make discarded holiday trees into mulch for use in community parks. Call your county for more information.
Sierra Club TV offers similar tips and some others we haven’t covered in the following video.
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Have other green holiday tips? Share them in the comments.
Happy Holidays from Clean Conscience!
Photo credit: Lars Plougmann - Flickr