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Have A Green Holiday!

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Have A Green Holiday!

10 Eco-friendly Gift Giving Ideas.
Chris  Prelitz
Chris Prelitz More by this author
Dec 04, 2016 at 09:00 AM

Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, Americans throw away a million extra tons of garbage each week, including holiday wrapping and packaging. That’s miles of forests felled to make gift wrap that ends as a mountain of trash in landfills—not to mention the financial impact to all of us. Here are my Top 10 ways to help care for creation, save a little cash, and get back to the true spirit of the holidays – giving from the heart.

  1. Send e-Holiday cards.
  2. Send holiday greetings by e-mail, not U.S. mail. You can go online and e-mail family and friends a creative virtual card, complete with options like music, a photo, a personalized message and even your own signature. You’ll be saving trees, energy, carbon, and cash.
  3. Give an experience instead of stuff.
  4.  Do we really need more stuff? Why not give family and friends a memorable experience instead of a material gift? How about theater or concert tickets, a massage, horseback riding, or even an art class? An experience will last a lifetime, and be a gift they will never forget.
  5. Use natural beeswax holiday candles.
  6. Toss those old holiday candles you inherited from your great aunt—they could have lead wicks, which are toxic when burned and were only banned in the U.S. in 2003. Choose natural beeswax over paraffin wax candles, which are petroleum based and give off toxins similar to diesel fumes when burned. Beeswax will also burn five times as long as paraffin which makes them a much better value even if they cost a bit more initially.
  7. Decorate with nature.
  8. One of my favorite memories was stringing together popcorn and cranberries to make a garland for our holiday tree. You can enjoy the garland twice if you remove the corn and cranberries and place outdoors in a good viewing spot, then sit back and watch as the local birds enjoy the treats.
  9. Go for handmade.
  10. Instead of going to the mall, and all of the emotional as well as financial stress that it entails, consider giving a gift from your own hands. Homemade banana bread, cookies, jams, jellies, or canned goods will be so much more appreciated than another store-bought item we don’t really need.
  11. Save $$ and energy with LED lights.
  12. Replace those old holiday lights with new LEDs, and save about 90 percent of the energy and cost to run conventional lights. You can find perfect replacements today in both multi-colored and white LED strings. They are also much safer than incandescents because they won’t heat up. And, they last so long your grandchildren may inherit them. Green fact:  If everyone replaced their conventional holiday light strings with LED’s, we’d save enough energy in one month to power 200,000 homes for a full year.  — U.S. Dept. of Energy
  13. Wrap it creatively.
  14. Nobody will mind if you use old newspaper funny pages, brown paper bags, or a vintage scarf to wrap your gifts, especially with a creative bow on top. Those old Christmas lights, cloth tape measure, string or shoelaces will add the finishing touch to your eco and economical gift giving. You can even turn old VHS or cassette tape into creative curly ribbon. And, don’t forget to make your own gift tags by cutting old greeting cards into small squares and folding in half. Have fun. There are no rules in recycling.
  15. Bag it.
  16. Most grocery or health food stores sell artsy reusable shopping bags that can be used for wrapping your gift and then reused over and over again. You’ll be appreciated for a gift that keeps on giving and one that lessens the load on landfills from disposable plastic or paper bags.
  17. Go battery-free or rechargeable.
  18. Disposable batteries are a waste to our wallets and a waste to the planet. Choose durable toys made from natural and non-toxic materials like hardwood. If you do go with techie toys that need batteries, give some rechargeable batteries and a charger along with the gift. Rechargeable batteries can last thousands of charges and save thousands of dollars.
  19. Give Solar Gifts.
  20. If you do purchase a gift, consider giving a clean renewable energy gift like a solar oven a solar lantern, or solar patio lights. A solar oven is a great way to teach children about the power of the sun, while providing a dependable cooking stove for daily use, camping, or power outages.
About Author
Chris  Prelitz
Chris Prelitz is the son of an ocean and aerospace engineer father and a mother of Native American descent who grew up on a rural farm. Raised in the midst of these two extreme views of life provided Chris with an appreciation for both high-tech and Continue reading