Monday, December 1, 2008

Green Your Christmas Traditions

Christmas season is in full swing, so where does that leave us greenies, who are trying to avoid waste and mass consumerism? The statistics don't look good. Consider that we produce 25% more waste during the holiday season, and that Wall-E DVD looks more like a prophecy under the Christmas tree than a simple gift! As a family, we have been trying to take deliberate steps to simplify our Christmas, enjoy eachother more, and celebrate in a green fashion. This is what it looks like to us:

~Meaningful traditions: These include baking cookies, choosing a local tree from a tree farm, caroling and an Advent calender. My kids will remember these traditions long after they forget the glitter of the gifts. They are nearly free, they spread Christmas cheer and have low impact on the environment. Crunchy Domestic Goddess and Green Bean have great posts on these traditions.

~Buying Less: We want to make sure our gifts serve a purpose, whether it's functional or aesthetic. Simple, Useful, Beautiful & Eco-Friendly are our requirements. Great gift ideas: Handmade items, Baked goods, Canned goods from the garden, or low impact eco gifts. This may sound like a conflict of interest for me as a store owner, but I don't want you to buy things just to buy. Buy things that are needed, and will be a safe alternative to traditional options. NatureMoms has some good toy ideas, and we love to offer recycled jewelry for a special touch.

~Reusable Wrapping: We like to reuse newspaper and other items from around the house as much as possible. When that runs out, we go for the post-consumer recycled paper, and natural sprigs of holly and twine. This is a much eco-friendlier options than synthetic bows and virgin paper. Once it's all said and done, Compost and recycle as much as you can! Another great option is using a reusable bag to wrap your gift, fabric or other reusable options.

~Simple Holiday Parties: This is my favorite part of the holidays! Sitting around with friends, a glass of wine in hand, chatting all evening. Try to make your party a waste-free one, with reusable or compostable utensils, by buying local foods, using natural decorations, and sending e-vites. This article on Ecologue has some great tips.

I'd love to hear more of your ideas for greening your Christmas traditions, please comment! Also, for more tips, check out my post from last year. To celebrate the Christmas we're offering 15% off and all products on MamaGoesGreen thru Wednesday~ Shop Simply!


Anonymous said...

My mother made us an advent calendar. It was felt and had little ornaments in a series of pockets. Each day, one came out and we put it on a hook on the felt tree. I haven't seen it in 30 years, but I still remember most of the ornaments...A tradition that I highly recommend.

Green Bean said...

Love hearing about the homemade felt advent calendar in the comments.

My oldest is a prolific artist (e.g., he draws ALOT). We have a roll of recycled paper that he uses and, once he covers both sides, I set aside the more interesting for wrapping presents. We also have gift bags that we reuse year in and out.

We get a yule log cake from local bakery, turn the lights off, light some beeswax candles and sing carols the night before Christmas.

Love reading what other people do. Thanks for the post. :)

Kacey R. said...

Great blog and sugesstions! Thank you!