Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry (Green) Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Christmas is almost here! In our part of the world, its always a green Christmas - don't be too jealous of our summer weather, I truly miss the lovely white bright sparkling Christmases of the north. Without snow and with the days at their longest, I never feel the need for Christmas lights here, so our Christmases have inherently become a little greener. :) Here are some other (slightly less grinchy) ideas to have a fabulous festive greener holiday season, no matter what your weather. Remember...every little bit helps!

  • Embrace the classics.  Pick your holiday decorations in classic styles so that you can enjoy their beauty for years to come. If you need to have a few "it" items or colours, look for items that can be reused or repurposed into non-holiday decor or other uses. Potted plants make lovely decorations that you can enjoy long after the holidays, and are a great way to add greenery or a splash of on-trend colour.  Opinions divide over real vs. fake trees - both have their positives and negatives, so choose what's right for you. If you choose an artificial tree, pick one you really like for long-term use.  Give your old artificial tree to a charity or charity shop if you are upgrading.
  • Eat your decorations.  Festive cakes and cookies, colourful fruit/veggie platters, and holiday drinks will dress up your holiday table all on their own. Jars and dishes of colourful candies or fruits make beautiful longer-lasting decorations.
  • Be energy conscious.  LED lights make it much easier to light things up for the holiday using less energy, and you can be extra energy wise with your selective use of power switches and timers. Depending on your location and weather, solar might also be an option.
  • Plan your menu.There is a huge amount of wasted food during the holidays.  Try to plan your holiday menus to minimse waste. Enjoy the leftovers or pop them in the freezer for later use.
  • Give wisely.  Try to pick non/less disposable presents that will be loved, used, read, worn, eaten, experienced, grown, etc. Remember, less is more (I is so hard this time of year!).
  • Consider your gift wrapping options.   Traditional gift bags and gift boxes are convenient and easy to reuse multiple times or useful wrapping like fabric, baskets, tins, boxes, etc makes the wrapping into a bonus part of the present.  Of course, you can still wrap and rip a little greener, too.  The recent post on Green(er) Gift Wrapping at Creativity Unmasked has a whole bunch of eco-conscious crafty and creative ideas to wrap up pretty presents.
  • Consider your Christmas card options.   This one is a struggle for us with so many family and friends scattered everywhere.  I absolutely love receiving holiday mail, but limit our send-outs as all  that postage is crazy expensive. Charity cards, homemade cards, and photocards are all fun options.  E-cards and email lack the personal touch of snail mail, but are still a great way to keep in contact. We try to compensate a little for the electronic cop-out by picking a Christmas charity or two and donating in lieu of postage paid to put some of the warm fuzzy feeling back in.
  • Spend time, not just money.  Do things together with your loved ones and make holiday memories.  Get out of the house - help a charity, go for a walk, bike ride, cross-country ski, snowshoe, visit a park, toboggan, take in a museum...your imagination is the limit! Except for maybe climate/weather. :)
  • Reuse your Christmas cards.  Take a look through any holiday cards that you aren't keeping for sentimental value and consider whether the might make good craft supplies. The fonts of cards are often perfect for punching into cute gift tags!  Recycle anything you don't want to keep or use. 
  • Recycle your Christmas tree.  If you have a live Christmas tree, recycle it into firewood,   wood chip mulch, or other useful supplies. If you don't have the means or need at home, check your local green waste services for pick-up or drop-off options.
  • Don't forget your everyday greener choices.  Holidays come with plenty of waste and rubbish, and it can be hard to follow your usual routine with all of the other distractions. Set up for success and try to make it easy for your family and any holiday guests to follow your recycling/composting routines. If you are replacing household items or have unneeded old clothes, its a great opportunity to declutter a little and give to charity.

This is our final post for the year before taking a little break to focus on our guests, family, and friends. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Have a wonderful holiday season and we will see you again in 2016!

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