Finally… we’ve stopping scurrying around in preparation for the holidays, but now we’re all liking looking around and seeing plenty yet to be done in the wake of a hectic season.
The tree, the lights, the presents, the boxes, the bags and bows, the piles of Christmas cards!… WHAT to do now? Well, let me help…
Here is a very simple list of things you can do to curb the waste, make the most of the season and keep it green!:
- The Christmas tree – if you had a live-cut Christmas tree, check out Earth911 to find a drop-off so it can be turned into mulch or composted (if your community doesn’t offer the service). If you have a wooded area near your house, give it back to nature for a wonderful winter habitat for animals. If your tree is artificial and you’ve considered a replacement, donate your old tree. Many organizations and needy families would love them for next year.
- Packaging and boxes – everything from gift packaging to the shipping boxes the gifts arrived in… either recycle them (if they aren’t usable again) or save them (along with the reusable packing materials) for when you need to ship something. If you have more than you can handle, list and sell them through Box Cycle.
- Gift bags, ribbons, bows and tissue – simply fold, flatten and store them. They can all likely be used again (and again!).
- Lights – if you have strands that have permanently gone out, take advantage of clearance sales and stock up on new LEDs for next year’s energy-efficient decorating. You can also check out HolidayLEDs.com… they’ll accept old incandescents and give you a 25% discount on a new LED purchase.
- Clear it out! – make way for new gifts by cleaning out what is no longer needed and donate them to charity. Clothes, toys, books, household items… everything is useful for someone, or an entire family, in need!
- E-cycle electronics – if you got something new, take your old electronics to your local Best Buy so they can be properly e-cycled, repaired or repurposed (or donate them, if they still work!).
- Christmas cards – save them and cut them up to become gift tags for next year.
- Christmas cards alternative – ever heard of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children? Well, they’d love to receive your Christmas cards! This non-profit organization cares for abused, abandoned and/or neglected children. They accept used greeting cards (including Christmas, birthday and even “Thank You” cards), the children remove the fronts and attach them to a recycled paper backing. They turn them into new greeting cards… and then sell them! Bundle them up and mail them to:
St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
Card Recycling Program
100 St. Jude’s Street
Boulder City, NV 89005
As you get your post-holiday life back in order there is some work to be done but, rest assured, there are plenty of wise, green choices that can be made as we bid the year farewell…
If there is no joyous way to give a festive gift, give love away. — Unknown
This Christmas we want to wish you all of the things that bring you happiness. Enjoy memories of the past, live in the moment, and have hope for the future. May your New Year be filled with everything wonderful — health, happiness, laughter and especially love!
– xoxo, Mom Goes Green —
Oh, the ticking clock to the holidays… it’s getting louder and louder!
I have already given you the list of Mom Goes Green holiday recommendations, from gifts to party planning, so I hope you’ve already discovered some great ideas and tips.
I also realized that there is one VERY important organization that I didn’t mention loudly enough: Kiva!
Kiva is really quite extraordinary… through their gift certificate program you can “loan” your gifted money to a “working poor” recipient of your choosing. Once they are able to repay the loan, you are given back your donated money to grant to another needy recipient… and this wonderful cycle starts all over again!
We’ve personally supported many families. They’ve including a man in Tajikistan who desperately needed money to buy seeds for farming, to a gentleman in Palestine that needed funds to improve his organic chicken farm! It’s rewarding (and admittedly fun!) to go through the list of people, see who you would like to help and check on their progress as time goes on, and until their loan is repaid.
Consider giving a Kiva gift certificate to someone (or make a donation yourself) and just a small amount will allow them (or you!) to give again and again and again…
Isn’t that really much better than that lousy sweater you were considering?…
The holidays seem to be moving toward us at warp speed! We’re nearing deadlines and, if you’re anything like me, you still have things to do. (Okay, so maybe I am one of the few dragging dreadfully behind but, humor me for a moment, and let me feel like I’m not alone!)
There are plenty of ways to avoid the excess and waste of the season, as well as making gifts selections that are fabulously green and giving. So that we (okay, so that I) don’t waste any more time getting to it, let’s just throw it on the table and get it all out of the way!
Here are my four must-read posts that will help you through (click below and read on!):
- My favorite gifts guide – a list of all the tangible gifts that I enjoy giving, because they happen to be great gifts and they are also fabulously green ideas too.
- My favorite gifts that “give back”: – a list of gifts that give to a worthwhile cause: wildlife, nature or the environment. Sometimes we don’t need to give those tangible gifts that clutter the recipient’s home… giving to a cause in the recipient’s honor may be the biggest present of all!
- Green party planning – a list of all the ways you can keep your holiday soiree goin’ green. From decorations, to your menu choices, to your clean-up… there are simple ways to keep from abandoning all of your green principals!
- Wrap it up in a big “green” bow – a list of all the ways those tangible gifts can be given without creating mountains of trash.
Hopefully, this guide will help you along the way, and gifts that you give will be useful, practical and, sometimes, just simply serve a cause.
The clock may be ticking, but there is always time to make great choices.
Happy green holidays, my friends!
Obviously recycling has been heavy on my mind since learning of my city’s proposal to eliminate our curbside recycling service as a cost-cutting measure. (Yes, my blood is still boiling!)
This is just a reminder about one simple fact: the average household output of trash actually increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. There are a lot of opportunities to misstep this time of year…
Make sure to make wise choices as you go about preparing for the holidays:
- Think about the gifts you’re purchasing and what will happen to all of the packaging. Some things can actually be UN-packaged so YOU can do the recycling of boxes and materials.
- Reuse all of the wrapping materials you already have before you buy something new… take inventory! We often already have plenty if we made smart choices last year!
- Even when you purchase food for all of your holiday events, think about how they’re packaged. Choose recyclable materials and, well… recycle them!
- When you mail a gift, newspaper is a great cushioning material over bubble wrap and packing peanuts. Hopefully your recipient will toss the newspaper in the recycling bin after the box is opened.
Truly, this list could go on and on but, if you’re “here”, I think you already “know”… just don’t forget! Try to make “your 25%” a whole lot less.