The holiday season is upon us and with that means racing out and buying Christmas gifts and trying to snag those last minute deals before they are gone. A lot of people took advantage of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and today being Cyber Monday, but with all of this buying we tend to forget one thing. The reason we are doing all of this shopping.
Christmas carols, holly leaves, wreaths, and not to forget all of the snowmen and Santa being hung, but what about the reason for the season? Some may argue that it’s the birth of Christ, but the main reason for the season is to appreciate loved ones and to get together and celebrate each other, but what else can be done?
Cutting out the unnecessary we can live a more greener lifestyle this season and still enjoy each other this time of year without having it blinded by shopping trips and stress that we all don’t need. Here are some ways to help you cut some corners on celebrating this season a little more green.
1. If you must shop during the holidays, wait until after the holiday season and grab up some after-Christmas sales. This is a great way to add to your decorations, wrapping goods, and some food items. A lot of items that are left over after the sales can be recycled into something else for another time. Christmas wrapping paper can be turned around and used to wrap another gift at a different time of year. Most Christmas wrapping paper that’s left over is white on the other side. Take the time to decorate the paper on your own, or have kids decorate it to suit the gift or occasion. Using brown paper sacks or brown paper is another way to go. Reusable bags and scrap material from sewing projects are another alternative and the bag can be reused year-after-year. Be sure to save your ribbons and bows too!
2. Make gifts yourself. You can use a lot of leftover holiday food for homemade gifts. Red is a popular Christmas color and can be found in a bout every themed food item this time of year. Reuse that food (be cautious of the expiration date) for Valentine’s Day, or use green for St. Patrick’s Day. Most food items can be frozen, or packaged to last a few more months after the season has ended. Donating to a charity in the recipient’s name is also a great alternative to a packaged goods. Do some research and determine the right charity that fits.
3. Buy in bulk this year. When cooking for a large group buy those items in bulk as much as you can. If you’re cooking for a small group get your items in bulk that you would use after the season is over too. Items such as flour, sugar, etc. can be used year-around, so stock up now when the prices are low for the holidays.
4. Place fruits like oranges and apples in stockings, or use nuts. Chestnuts are a fun alternative to all that candy and hazelnuts/filberts are perfect for this time of year. Be sure to buy as many items organic as you can.
5. If shipping items, try going with smaller items like gift cards, or even money. The less you use in package wrap is a great greener alternative. If you must ship and item, get the company to send the item to the recipient directly. Taking out the middle man [you] saves a lot on wasted resources.
6. Buy gifts that are well-made and durable. Cheap items will last a cheap amount of time. Remember, not more, better.
7. Send e-cards this year instead of paper ones. This method is a lot more popular now than it was years ago. If you must send a Christmas card, make sure the company you are buying them from practices recycling techniques. You can also make your own Christmas cards too. This is a fun activity if you have kids in the family. Start a new tradition in making Christmas cards each year.
8. Saving school-made holiday crafts and using them as decorations. Is your child bringing home a lot of school-made crafts? Use them to your advantage and re-purpose them at home. These crafts are priceless and will mean more to your family than any store-bought decor.
9. Use popcorn as tree decor. Popping popcorn and making a night of eating, chatting, and stringing popcorn on the tree is a great way to go green and also spend more time with family. When the season is over, take the string of popcorn and place it in trees outside for our feathered friends. Make sure to use salt-free, no butter variety for stringing. You can also use pine cones, acorns, and greenery from around your yard, or neighborhood.
10. Using a living tree that can be planted after the holidays is probably one of the most green things you can do this season. If you get a smaller tree, that’s in a pot, you can keep it potted until spring and enjoy it for longer. After the holidays, plant it into the ground in a location that it can be enjoyed for many, many years to come. You can even decorate the outside tree with lights each year just as you would your inside tree. Be sure to use LED lights when decorating inside and out.
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