ĎTis better to give than to receive, but with all the seasonís generosity of spirit, the environment often pays the price. During the holidays, we travel more, our purchasing increases, we use more electricity to keep those holiday decorations shining, and we entertain more.
Can we keep the spirit of the season and still be good stewards of the earth? Of course! Positively Green interviewed party expert David Tutera, and authors Corey Colwell-Lipson and Lynn Colwell of the new book, Celebrate Green, to collect the best advice for greening your holidays.
Positively Greenís Top Ten Eco-Holiday Tips
1. Buy and use only rechargeable batteries
2. To cut down on the waste of wrapping paper, try using materials such as paper grocery bags flipped inside out and decorated with soy ink stamps or the comic page of a newspaper for kids. Other great wrapping materials include old maps, sheet music and magazine ads. Another great wrapping idea is to enclose all your gifts in re-usable cotton mini shopping bags. You can customize them yourself and the recipient can use them over and over again.
3. Try soy or beeswax candles. They are cleaner and gentler on the environment but are every bit as beautiful and fragrant. Plus they last longer!
4. Borrow items from nature to set your table and return them when youíre done. Dried leaves or smooth stones make beautiful place cards, and a pinecone lying on its side creates the perfect stand.
5. When entertaining, donít let all your guests drive separately to the party, register your event at Ride Amigos! They take care of everything from arranging carpools, rideshares, taxi shares and even calculates the CO2 saved by rideshares in offsetting the carbon footprint of the event. And then your friends donít have to let friends drive.
6. Turn down your thermostat a few notches before your guests arrive. As more and more guests arrive, the room’s temperature will rise to a comfortable but not stuffy level and people wonít be sneaking outside for fresh air.
7. The holidays just wouldnít be the same without our olfactory senses. Instead of chemically based air fresheners, scented paraffin candles and potpourri, try simmering cinnamon sticks on the stove or placing a few drops of pure essential oils on some stones or pine cones. And if youíre inclined toward baking, the smell of gingerbread cookies or apple pie fresh from the over is sure to delight any guest.
8. Donít buy or make more food than youíll need. If there are leftovers, send guests home with extras in pre-saved glass jars instead of plastic wrap.
9. Emphasize togetherness and people over things. What would your guests enjoy? Music, games and cooking together create memories and teach our children (and ourselves) that love and friendship are zero-waste.
10. If youíre looking for more than a warm and cozy glow, LED (or in some cases, solar), holiday lights for the home, tree and walkway can be found in colors and styles to reflect your taste and traditions. If you have old-school lights, enjoy them until they need to be replaced, but be sure to use a timer and keep them on for only 4-6 hours per night. HolidayLED‘s sells LED lights, but they also have a recycling program that accepts old holiday lights.
For more information or to subscribe at the introductory price of $10 a year, go to positivelygreen.com. Positively Green magazine launched in 2008 as a quarterly women’s magazine that covers every aspect of green from eco-friendly vacations to green fashion to green health. With articles that don’t just explain the problems, they outline solutions for busy people who want to make the change but don’t have the time to research solutions.