Have yourself a Merry Green Holiday

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You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a great holiday season. In fact, spending less money can also help reduce your carbon imprint on the planet. It can be as easy as making your own gifts or adding a personal touch to a store-bought gift. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a handmade gift crafted to the specific recipient? If you let your ideas soar, you will surely find ways of having a green holiday season, save some money, and save time as well.

Each year we try to make something to give as gifts. We usually start with a theme and use what we have around the house or can be easily recyclable or reusable. The Green Movement is all the rage nowadays and I’m pretty sure most people will appreciate a gift that’s also better for the planet. And whether you plan on spending a lot of money or not, you will most likely find ideas that spark an environmentally-friendly holiday season.

So where’s a good place to start? A good place to start is with a theme. This way you’ll know what ingredients or items to buy and use. And then you can tailor it to the specific person for that extra special touch. Below I’ve listed 10 ways of “going green” this holiday season. Perhaps you’ve already tried some of these suggestions. If not, then I hope you’ll find them useful.

10 Ways of Having a Green Holiday:

1- Make homemade sweets to give as gifts. Bake themed cookies, seasonal pies, petite cakes, whoopee pies, chocolate truffles, candies, and so forth. Homemade sweets are a delicious way of giving someone something they don’t usually make or buy for themselves. You can find great recipes online.

2- Add a special touch to scarves, hats, and mittens. Buy a plain or simply-patterned scarf, hat, or mittens and add some beading to them. To make it personal, decide what the recipient likes such as animals or flowers, etc. Stitch a butterfly, cat, or a favorite flower onto the scarf, hat, or mittens, and the recipient will remember you each time they wear it.

3- If you have sweaters that no longer fit you and you plan on donating them anyway, make mittens and hats out of them. Then decorate them per Idea #2, above. A good place for patterns is Martha Stewart’s website.

4- Use old newspapers for wrapping gifts and shred them to fill up boxes or bags. To make it a “newsworthy” theme, choose the comics page for a gift that’s comical or unique; choose the theater page for a gift that’s dramatic; choose a real estate page for a gift that’s for the home; choose an investment page for someone who loves saving money. Then, if you have leftover pages, shred them to fill inside boxes. Tie the boxes with raffia for an earthier look and raffia can be easily reused.

5- Use grocery paper bags to wrap small gifts. Natural food stores usually offer paper bags as an option. Once you unload your groceries, make sure the bags are clean and use them as wrapping paper. To make them more festive, have your kids draw on them with crayons or watercolor paint.

6- If you do buy wrapping paper, be sure they contain at least 50% post-consumer materials. To save paper when wrapping, measure exactly so there are no odds and ends leftover. If there are odd pieces left over, use them as gift tags so that they perfectly match the wrapped gift.

7- If decorating with holiday lights, be sure to buy ones that are made with LED light bulbs. LED light bulbs use one-tenth the energy of regular light bulbs therefore saving you some money. LED light bulbs are available for both indoor and outdoor – just make sure they are UL listed for safety.

8- When shopping for Christmas trees, it’s actually more ideal to buy fresh trees. One would think that artificial trees are better because you can reuse them each year, but artificial trees are made from plastic which are usually from non-renewable resources and they are shipped from a long distance. If you can get a living tree, which is designed to be replanted, then all the better. And be sure to recycle your tree properly.

9- Buy gifts that donate a certain amount of proceeds to a good charity. Pick ones that donates at least 30% of the proceeds to a charity. If it’s hard to find that high of an amount, then even 5% will be helpful. Not only are you saving money from any extra monetary donations you were planning on, but you’re also helping others in need.

10- Make a donation in the recipient’s name to his/her favorite charity. This is especially great if your recipient is hard to buy for or really just don’t want anything for Christmas (I know a few who are always telling me that).

So you see, there are many wonderful ways of going green this holiday season as well as saving some green in your pocket. If you put your mind to it, you’ll probably find other ways of saving money and time, and helping to save the planet as well. Make a list of all the things you need and you’ll also save a lot of time and money. I find that when I don’t have my list for the holiday season, I end up buying things that I don’t really use or need and then they’re truly a waste. Decide that this year you really are going to go green and you’ll unearth many ideas, items, and creativity that you never knew were available.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

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