Green Tips for the Holidays: Part 2

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green_xmasLast year Deb wrote a wonderful article on how to GO GREEN FOR THE HOLIDAYS and I thought I’d follow up with some of our favorite ideas and links for a Greener Holiday this year.  This year we’ve been trying our best to practice what we preach and have found that shopping local is not only easy and fun, but incredibly yummy! So, that leads me to our first Green Tip:

ADD ORGANIC & LOCAL FOODS TO YOUR HOLIDAY FEAST
Support local family farmers who grow sustainable meat and produce. Not only does it taste better, you’ll be doing your part for the planet too. Visit one of Orange County Farmer’s Markets for delicious and nutritious foods for your holiday meal.

MAKE YOUR OWN WRAPPING PAPER
Most mass-produced wrapping paper you find in stores is not recyclable and ends up in landfills. Instead, here’s a great chance to get creative! Wrap presents with old maps, the comics section of a newspaper, or children’s artwork.  If every family wrapped just three gifts this way, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.

RECYCLE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE
Ninety-eight percent of Christmas trees were grown on farms, not in forests, so at least it’s not as if you’re cutting down an ancient tree. Each year, 10 million Christmas trees end up in the landfill. While your tree won’t fit in the recycling bin with your newspapers and bottles, you can recycle your tree: many cities offer programs to turn your tree to mulch or wood chips. Call (800) CLEANUP or visit www.earth911.org to find the tree-recycling program near you.

GIVE THE GIFT THAT GIVES BACK!
Donate to the favorite charity of the person you are giving to.  If you have a gardener in your family, have a tree planted in their honor.  If you have a pet lover in your family, donate to one of the numerous animal shelters or rescues in the area.  If you have a humanitarian in the family, donate to a local homeless shelter.  Feel doubly good about giving and giving back!

MAKE MEMORIES NOT MISERY!
Don’t let yourself get caught up in the madness. Remember what the holidays are really about. Family and Friends. Give experiences instead of stuff. Buy tickets to a show, a ball game, or a scenic train ride instead of dust-collecting knickknacks. Tailor the gift to the recipient: club or museum memberships, craft or hobby lessons, IOU for a home-cooked meal, an afternoon of gardening help, free babysitting, and so on.  Remember the simple pleasures of just being with those you care about.

USE LESS AND USE LED
Your house doesn’t have to light up the whole neighborhood to show your holiday spirit. So this year use a few less lights to help save energy.  Plus, switching out any old Christmas lights with LED will not only make your display brighter and more colorful, but will also be good for the environment.

The holidays draw out the best in most of us each year. But they also bring what seems like an environmentalist’s worst nightmare: tons of extra garbage, millions of chopped-down trees, and megawatts of flashing lights. With a little tweaking, however, everything from holiday gift-giving to light-stringing can celebrate the environment, too. So, think about giving back to your environment this holiday season, it doesn’t take much, but you can feel good about helping this beautiful world we live in.

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