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Be a Little GREEN this Season

December 11, 2010

The holiday season is about tradition, family, and giving. However, this year I changed some of our traditions… out with the old and  in with the new! Our family celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas. So, needless to say it’s double the work (and fun too). This year I made a conscious effort to scale back both financially and also environmentally.

  • From Thanksgiving to New Years Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons – it all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills. (

Gift Wrapping

Simple and classic, with a touch of creativity! A trip to the craft store and purchase of craft paper ($2.99) and ribbons was all that was needed. With traditional crayons, I decorated the kids gifts. They loved the personalization! The best part? After the gifts are open, the craft paper and ribbon can be reused for projects.

More ideas:

  • Use brown lunch bags and dress up with elements of nature (leaves, branches, etc.) or old buttons
  • Reuse newspaper or magazines
  • For kitchen gifts wrap with fancy dish towels, cloth napkins or a tablecloth
  • Tie an ornament, dreidel, or small toy to the packages

Holiday Cards

This is my virtual holiday card! Not only did I save on postage and time (since I despise stuffing envelopes), I was also able to send my card to more people. As a graphic designer,  I had the luxury of creating the card myself using design programs. If you want to do it yourself there are some online options to assist you.


Gifting to Others

Many companies are listening consumers and trends.  In today’s day, we are more eco-friendly and budget conscious. I was excited to see that Williams Sonoma sells a potted Colorado Blue Spruce Trees ($29.95) which comes with planting instructions.

Homemade Gifts like jams, flavored popcorn, soaps, and organic and natural beauty products are fabulous choices. Packaged nicely, they make personal and heartwarming gifts. Personally, I am a fan of sugar scrubs! Another idea if you want to take on the task, is a custom family/friends cookbook. This is a project I have created in the past. It does involve some work gathering recipes (start early in the year) and formatting, but recipients enjoy the gift for years. You can print the book on recycled paper, or just provide an electronic version via email.


The Alternative Tree

Each year, 50 million Christmas trees are purchased in the U.S. (Cygnus Group). Of those, about 30 million trees go to the landfill. (Environmental News Network).  I know we all love the fresh smell and tradition of a real tree, but for a more modern and updated holiday there are plywood trees and even removable stickers to put on the walls of your home. You can also use natural elements such as branches and dress them with ornaments. Get creative! This is a fun family project.


Eco-Friendly Holiday Resources:


2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2010 11:15 pm

    These are great “green ideas” and especially options for the alternative tree


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