Eco Friendly Christmas

Paper Snowflakes
Paper Snowflakes

What is an Eco Friendly Christmas?

Before getting into the various ways you can be eco friendly this holiday season, let's first define what an eco friendly Christmas could look like.

My vision of an eco friendly Christmas is one in which waste is kept to a bare minimum.  Obvious examples are wrapping paper and gift packaging.  You can also take into account where any manufacturing takes place, what materials are used and where they are sourced from.    

Maybe eco friendly to you means only buying local or just using what is in your home right now. 

Eco Friendly Christmas Presents

Here are six eco friendly Christmas presents you can make:

1.  Used Items
You could make a pact with a group of friends or your family, that you'll only give gifts that you already own.  This could include books, cds, jewelry, clothes, posters, or photos - for starters. 

2.  Coupons
Coupons for hugs, hikes, shoulder rubs, manicures, a homemade meal etc.
People of all ages can make coupons for friends and loved one.  Print them from your computer or make them by hand.

3.  Gifts in a Jar
Food gifts in a jar are great for those who don't have the time to measure out all the ingredients or just don't know how to bake!  Put all the dry ingredients needed for a cookie mix in a jar along with the instructions.  The recipient simply adds the wet ingredients, stirs and bakes.

What about a jar of relaxation?  Place epsom salt in a jar and tie a small vial of essential oil to it.

4.  Bags or Boxes of Quotes
Find a hundred inspirational quotes and put them in a fabric sachet or a decorated box.  Included personal notes from yourself in it as well.  This gift can last for months - as long as the person doesn't read them all in the first week!

5.  Record a Message or Story
Most people have devices that play mp3s or at the very least CDs.  You could:

  • Record a message about how much someone means to you
  • Read a story (or make one up)

6.  Make a Video or Slideshow
You can make videos without using a video camera.  Many computers come with video creation software that allows you to make your pictures into a video.  Grandparents and in-laws would likely love a DVD of the young ones.

One advantage of these gifts is they're also budget friendly.

Eco Friendly Gifts You Can Buy

The five gifts below are just a sampling of "green" gifts available:

1. Adopt an Animal
You can adopt one of 100+ species of animals at the World Wildlife Fund. From Rockhopper Penguins and Tigers to Snowy Owls, Turtes and even Great White Sharks! What better way to help the environment than by saving a species in trouble.

2. Buy From Local Artisans
Items that are created locally not only support artisans but also fuel and pollution associated with transportation of finished products. It's even better if the product materials are sourced locally. Look around and you'll likely find clothes, jewelry, furniture and much more.

3. Herb Growing Kit
Have a friend who is new to gardening? A herb growing kit may be just the thing to get them started. By the summer they may be raring to start a vegetable garden.

4. Support a Charity
Want to help others this holidays? In addition to charities in your city or town, there are also charities that help people in poverty support their family. Kiva.org and Grameenfoundation.org give microloans to help these people create a small business. You may be surprised to learn that the latter also helps those in poverty in the United States.

5. Electric Bikes
How about an electric bike instead of the car to zip about town? No exhaust (minus the carbon dioxide you'll be venting), some exercise, and an easier way to get up hills than a regular bike.

Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping

If you couldn't buy wrapping paper, what would you wrap presents with?  A paper bag from the grocery store can be decorated with drawings or paper snowflakes.  A scarf or piece of cloth can be used to wrap around a present.  Even a pillowcase could be used for family (and even friends).

Eco Friendly Tree

An example of an eco friendly tree is one with a root ball, which allows it to be planted outside later.  If you do not have a big enough yard for a tree, let alone any yard at all, contact your local park and recreation department or forestry department to see if they can plant it.  The place you buy the tree from should know places that will accept trees for plantation after the holidays.

If you do purchase a cut tree, recycle it afterwards.  Many cities have christmas tree recycling programs in which they pick up the trees and use it for  mulch.

Instead of buying any type of tree, decorate any large plant or ficus tree you already have in your house.

Eco Friendly Decorations

There are so many eco friendly decorations.  For instance, you could decorate your tree with:

  • a string of cranberry and popcorn garland
  • stars made from twigs and twine
  • paper snowflakes for the tree (and window)
  • gingerbread or sugar cookies
  • origami cranes, stars, and even dinosaurs
  • sprinkle baking soda onto the tree to mimic snow

For the snowflakes and origami, consider using magazines that are ready to be recycled. 

Those are some ideas for an eco friendly Christmas.  Feel free to share your ideas in the comment section below.

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