Thursday, December 6, 2012

Easy Green Christmas

This is not even close to an original idea. It’s not even a one-dimensional idea—the phrase “green Christmas” on its own just means it’s not a white Christmas, i.e. an absence of snowfall leaves a wintry backdrop of the green (and the brown) of the earth. The 1950s comedy single “GreenChristmas” by Stan Freburg is about making money off of the holiday. The song by the Bare Naked Ladies has to do with envy.

And then there’s our bailiwick, the environmentally friendly shade. Oodles of print and online articles exist with titles like “How to Have a Green Christmas” and “Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday.” So, among the plethora of green holiday tips out there, what could this one little blog bring to the table?

I’ll tell you.

I’ve sifted through those oodles of articles, filtering out the pointless, the “well duh,” and the positively unattainable for the average person, to give you my favorite easy yet impactful choices for this holiday season.

If you’re buying new strings of lights, spring for the LEDs. At the very least, put your decorative lights on timers so you can’t forget to shut them off at night. Oh, and maybe go smaller this year. No reason to duplicate the Griswalds’light display, and do you really need four inflatable santas on your lawn?

Streamline your shopping errands. This sounds like an idea that should have been on the “well duh” list, but I know too many people who do too much driving back and forth and home and out and round and round again and—whoops! we ran out of gas on our fifth trip back to Walmart. Yeah. So, plan the most direct, no-backtracking, round-trip route. Just do some research online first and organize your shopping list by store, for Pete’s sake!

Embrace regifting. Seriously. When it’s appropriate. But don’t force it. And be considerate.

Shop local and give your friends and family a taste of your hometown. Some personal examples? Local microbrews and organic dog treats from a local small business.

Give battery-free gifts. It’s a win-win-win.

Rethink wrapping paper. Experts say we Americans are throwing out an extra million tons of garbage weekly between Thanksgiving and New Year’s day, and you know the cause. “…The ribbons! The wrappings! The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings!” (Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas) But trying to reuse wrapping paper is ridiculous. It wrinkles and tears and just doesn’t look good the second time around because it’s so flimsy (well, the cheap stuff we have is too flimsy; I don’t know about yours). And you can’t recycle a lot of it for the same reason: too low quality to make it through the process. But, gift bags can survive many reuses, and the tissue paper to fill them is supposed to be all crumpled up anyway!

Another wrapping idea: Swaddle your gifts in cloth. You can reuse something old (say, a colorful fabric remnant or Christmas sweater) or you can make it part of the gift (a handmade scarf or a new kitchen towel—great for wrapping food gifts). Or, there’s the old standby, the Sunday comics—read, reuse, then recycle!

Got a real pine tree in your living room? Recycle it. Your community might use old Christmas trees for mulch, for erosion prevention, for wildlife habitat restoration… lots of things! Earth 911 has some tips and a link to find your local “treecycling” resources.

Lastly, the Sierra Club has a somewhat fun holiday survival guide with DIY gifts, fresh recipes and even facts to back you up when the dinner table conversation turns to “you greenies,” whether you’re educating your “skeptical of green stuff” brother or just “preaching to the choir” to your progressive nephew.

(Link back to Frugally Sustainable's Blog Hop!)

1 comment:

  1. Bailiwick. That's a pretty solid vocab word right there. Nice. :)

    And great post! Definitely trying to shop local as much as possible.