Dreaming of a green Christmas but a little stumped on where to begin?
Tuesday afternoon my step father and I bundled in fluffy coats and warm winter mitts and set off to scout out the perfect little Christmas tree as the evergreen centre peice to our family room. Nessled in a swirl of pine we spotted just the perfect one with a full, dense, bottom, white frosted tips and a bald spot at the nap of the long spindling neck. It was beautiful and though the car ride home savoured a road side stop as the trunk flew open, we made it home with the tree still intact. Success! Now getting it out was the real test of strength. How many Christmas tree enthusiasts does it take to yank a tree from its snug fit in the back of the car? Answer: 3.
With the tree perched in the family room, awaiting tomorrow when we will be trimming its branches with DIY decorations, I snuck a branch to my room to satisfy my lust of the aromatic pine. The perfect, chemical free air freshener as it is. And in the spirit of chemical free and green, let us spruce up this Christmas with an evironmental twist. Here are my top easy holistic steps to a greener white Christmas!
A Green Home
- “Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how real are your branches?” – Buy a real christmas tree
- There has been much debate over whether or not to go real or fake with both sides issuing a valid debate. But I will continue to support real trees. Though chopped down each year, at least they are grown in the first place and continue to be. Bonus: they are recycleable!
- Make it green:
- Buy local
- Choose from farms that utilize the least chemicals possible
- Recycle your tree after Christmas
2. Make all natural air fresheners
- Whether or not your fresh pine tree is enough freshener, there are plenty of delicious smelling, stove top recipes that simmer and fill your home with aromatic fragrance. You can see my pinterest here: http://www.pinterest.com/Lifeofeden/ for recipes. The board: Christmas Cocoa and Fairisle Sweaters.
3. Save your energy putting up the lights
- Save time and electricity but using lighting sparingly. This goes for inside and outside the home.
- Opt for energy efficient, LED light bulbs.
- Set a timer to turn them off around your bedtime.
4. Decorate with natural decorations
- Instead of bowls of christmas bulbs, have vases and bowls of festive edible fruit arrangments (apple, oranges etc.) and nuts
- Utilize pine cones and fallen branches etc.
Gifts that keep on Giving
5. Less is more
- There is no need to go overboard on gifts. Focus in on less gifts that mean more.
6. Create a wish list
- Others will thank you (we all want to give you a gift you will love) and you will recieve something you actually want. Bonus: you can relax your facial smiles – no forced smiles needed!
- Make it green:
- When making your list, think more about what you need instead of want. Ask for things you would have had to buy anyway, things that you will use time and time again, things that will last. And, of course, sneak in an item or too that is a complete splurge. Something you want but wouldn’t otherwise buy yourself, you deserve it!
7. Please Purchase Responsibly
- Look for fair trade, support small local buisness as much as possible, less is more for packaging and steer clear of anything from China.
- Bonus: When buying at small, local buisnesses, you tend to avoid the massive crowds of the Christmas mall rush and inevitable run ins with “Canada’s worst drivers” in the parking lot
8. Go DIY
- Make as many gifts as possible! Or get crafty and think outside the box. Gifts don’t have to be store bought, they can be your friends’ favourite cookies (with – gasp! – your grandmother’s secret recipe for them), or skating lessons, a yoga membership, a gift card for something you two can do together, you name it!
- Bonus: Buying something active will save that person from the post christmas overload of consumer workout equipment purchases and you may not have to wrap these gifts at all!
9. DIY your cards
- Commercial cards use an expansive amount of waste. Make your own, make them smaller and add your personal touch. I am the official card writer in my family because of my quirky (or otherwise utterly corny) sayings littered with puns, but a nice, little handwritten message will go a long way
- Make it green: the best and easiest way is through e-cards! Nothing to dispose of, just be sure to add your own personal touch to these too.
10. “Packages, boxes or bags!” Reusable wrapping!
- From our adorable printed bags (no doubt from China) popping with tissue paper, you would never guess that they are moderatly eco-friendly. But what’s encased in them isn’t the only surprise, many of these bags have been in my family since I was a child. And the tissue paper is used until it’s brimming will holes. I, myself, try to get away with reusing it as much as possible so don’t look at your wrapping too closely 😉
- Make it green:
- Reuse your bags and gently tear the tissue paper from them as you unwrap them so that you can fold it neatly and reuse them next year. This can be done with bows, tags and even wrapping paper too.
- I like to use old newspapers for wrapping. One Christmas I was able to fit a Christmas tree crossword on the front of my Mom’s cookbook and Dexter (one of the shows he watches) with blood splotches on the front of my brother’s gift.
- Choose hemp or wrapping paper from recycled materials
11. TAPEr this down
- Use tape sparingly or not at all. My step father uses tape at every crease possible. The tell tale sign he wrapped the gift: tapping the paper to the gift! TAPEr this down.
- This is a fantastic trend! Have something you don’t want or need but know someone who will appreciate it? Pass it on!
13. Splurge on the Bird
- This is not the time to be cheap. Opt for a turkey that is local, free range, organic, grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free! Now thats a roast to feast on. By buying local, you can reduce your ecological footprint up to 75%!
14. Taste, don’t waste
- On average, Americans waste up 96 billion pounds of food each year, according to the USDA
- Keep it green:
- Take a taste of the food and remember, you can always go back for more.
- Utilize the left overs. Something you don’t think you can eat before it goes bad? Freeze it or divi it up for your guests to take home and savour the next day. I’m sure they will appreciate not having to cook for that meal.
- To make good use of this, let your guests feed themselves! It easier for you and it allows them to take only what and how much they want.
- Plan your meals and how much food you will actually need to avoid waste later. Compost what doesn’t get eaten and cannot be salvaged
I will still be wishing for a white Christmas of course, but will be doing my part to make it a green one too!
Sprucing up Christmas,