It’s that time of the year, Christmas!
I could not believe, even before Thanksgiving, that Christmas decorations were up.
Like Thanksgiving, if you start planning now, we can make this a green Christmas. Old Saint Nick makes a list every year, so we have to make a list and check it twice for ways we can help our environment. We have less than ten days for shopping, decorating, gifting, and food, so let’s start planning now. First things, first! Let’s talk shopping and gifting!
When we make our list to go shopping, go ahead and plan your shopping trips now! When you know what you are shopping for and where to get it, you reduce the amount of time spent shopping as well as the amount of gasoline wasted driving all over the place. Sometimes it’s better to let your fingers do the shopping. Consider shopping by phone or on the internet. Just remember to look for items that are easy to ship and will require less packaging. Also, consider buying several items in bulk to give as gifts. Buying in bulk will decrease waste and your total cost too.
When you take the time to research items, you may be surprised what you can find. I found this neat reusable product at Molly Maxine; it is a way to ditch the makeup wipes! By switching to MakeUp Eraser, Erase ALL Makeup With JUST Water! (even waterproof!) The makeup erasers are reusable, machine washable & last 3 to 5 years. Plus, it takes the place of 3600 wipes, and it is double-sided to ERASE & EXFOLIATE the skin!
Use reusable shopping bags. Using a reusable shopping bag whenever possible reduces the number of those plastic bags that we accumulate and sometimes end up as litter on our highways. Each year from 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags is used worldwide. That comes out to about one million per minute! So many of these gazillion bags will end up as litter or in landfills. It really helps to use reusable bags.
So, how do we take the stress out of gift-giving? Buying and giving gifts is meant to be a loving gesture. Consider giving gift certificates. You will save wrapping paper and possibly save your gift recipient the pleasure of standing in one of those long ‘return’ lines after Christmas. Buying a gift certificate from someone’s favorite store or spa can be a great gift. Dressing it up in a pretty tin or mini-stocking will make it even more memorable.
Join family members to draw names and reduce the number of gifts needing to be bought. Consider giving gifts of your time or your talents. Creating coupon gifts promising chores or activities that you can do for family members and friends is great for kids and adults. If you are crafty, consider making some of your gifts for your loved ones. I made beaded bracelets for my family and friends this year.
Consider making donations in honor of someone on your gift list. Making a donation to someone’s favorite charity or religious institution in his or her honor is another great package-free gift idea. It is a gift that will keep on giving. If you decide to re-gift some items, re-gift responsibly. We all have done this with things that we have gotten from time to time. Just make sure that you do not give a re-gifted item back to the same person who gave it to you! Sometimes a re-gifted thing is just looking for the right home. If it is an item that you do not need or want, help it find its way.
Don’t forget to get with your family members before Christmas to pull together items like toys, games, and clothes no longer used to give to local charities. Make sure they are in good condition, though. Helping children participate in this gesture is a beautiful way to teach them to care for others.
So now we have gone shopping, and we have the perfect environmentally kind gifts. Time to wrap! Did you know that if each family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon each year, we could take that 38,000 miles of ribbon and tie a bow around the earth? That is a lot of ribbons!
Did you know that half of the paper Americans consume each year is used to wrap and decorate consumer products?
In the US, the annual trash from gift wrap and shopping bags totals over 4 million tons. If everyone wrapped just three gifts in reused paper or fabric gift bags, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks!
Here are some great eco-friendly ideas for gift wrapping:
Buy gift wrap that contains recycled material. Avoid buying plastic-coated paper and foils that cannot be recycled or reused.
Make gift tags from Christmas cards from last year. Make gift cards, and even Christmas cards, on your computer with a printing program.
Instead of gift wrap, use gift boxes, baskets, and other containers that can be reused for other gift-giving events or household purposes. Save and reuse gift bags and bows again and again. Use scarves or pieces of fabric to wrap gifts.
Newspaper and comic pages can even make fun wrapping paper.
With a little planning, we can all have a ‘green’ Christmas! So let’s start that Christmas countdown.
Remember to recycle your Live Christmas Tree, on January 9, 2021, at the Liberty County Health Department, along with your tires and unwanted electronics. If you have any questions or need to contact us about KLB programs, please call us at (912) 880-4888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.