I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas (9 Ways to Be More Green with Less Green)
I'm trying to be more green, and spend less green this holiday. For years I've been working to lessen the impact of the holidays on the environment, being sickened by the excess glut of stuff, especially cheap toxic stuff from China.
But it's not easy. And I don't want to be a scrooge. So here are a few of the goals and ideas I'm working on this year to simplify, enjoy, and feel good this Christmas without breaking the bank.
1. Buy U.S. made products. I've put together a great gift guide for U.S. made non-toxic toys, and I have already made my orders. Now, these do cost more, but we are buying less of everything, so we can put a little more here. (This year I add MightyNest to the list!)
2. Select one or two meaningful gifts for your kids, instead of piles of cheap, breakable, and harmful stuff. Quality is better than quality (and the kids won't be as overwhelmed).
3. Use gift bags and boxes instead of wrapping paper. I've been collecting gift bags for awhile, and have many ready to use. You can also use cloth, foil, or the funnies section of the newspaper.
4. Buy a live tree from a local tree farm (if you are planning to have a tree). This way you are supporting your local economy, and can compost your tree when you are done. Many waste management agencies now compost trees, or you can do what we do, and drag it into our woods to become habitat. Artificial trees are usually made in China, contain lead and PVCs.
5. Pick names for gift giving, instead of giving gifts to everyone. This is easier on the pocketbook, and on the earth (less excess consumerism). We've been doing this for years. Now, we just focus on the children in the family. My husband and I exchange stockings, and that's it!
6. Consider giving a meaningful charitable gift in a loved one's name, using Changing the Present. They have powerful ways to support children, families, environmental and health and safety causes world wide.
7. Make food gifts for your friends and family, instead of buying presents. This year, I hope to make several loaves of pumpkin bread with my little girls. They then see the value of creating something for someone, and are part of the experience.
8. Make ornaments instead of buying them. Here is a simple clay recipe (from the Everything Toddler Activities Book by Joni Levine) that you can use and cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
1.5 cups flour
1.5 cups cinnamon and nutmeg mix (I used less)
1 cup salt
1 cup water
Holiday cookie cutters
1. Mix all the ingredients together. Add more water or flour as need to make it hold together nicely and not be extremely sticky.
2. Have your little helper knead the dough and roll it out to 1/4 inch thick.
3. Show your child how to cute out shapes with the cookie cutters.
4. Use the straw to poke a hole in the top part of the ornament.
5. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes until they are hard.
6. Paint and decorate!
Then you can paint them, write the recipients name and the year, and sign your children's names. This is an affordable and simple way to create ornaments for friend and family that they will cherish.
9. To send cards or not? That is the question. Sending them takes money, valuable fossil fuels, and paper. But they are so nice to get! We are taking the lazy, cheap and environmentally responsible route this year. No cards (sorry mom!) but if I did I would research some responsible holiday picture card options.
These are just a few ideas for how to celebrate this year (however you may celebrate!)while being as green as possible, and not spending as much green.