As we pass through the black and orange of Halloween spirits, and into the warmth of gold, red and green of the holidays and the blue of the new year, we need to consider color in a new way, aside from visual decoration – it is time to go green in the way we celebrate.
While the holidays are a time of family, fun and celebration, if we are not careful we can really do a world of damage to our Mother Earth in the name of celebration. Let’s look at a few ways that we can all reduce waste, pollution and more so that we can celebrate our holidays in the most healthful, responsible way!
Clean Green One way to stay green during the holidays is to clean green, ensuring that you entertain your family and guests with a safe, non-toxic, breathable environment to celebrate in. Clean your windows using simply vinegar and water. Clean your bathroom shower, sink, toilet and floors with vinegar as well. Keep your kitchen counters beautiful and germ free by scrubbing with a mild toothpaste consistency blend of vinegar, water, baking soda and dish soap, adding a little salt for extra gritty scrubbing. When it comes to cleaning your own hands, remember that scrubbing with simple soap and water for 20 seconds, then rinsing and drying thoroughly, is the best way to stay clean and avoid the risks of adding to antibacterial resistance.
Minimize the Exhaust When we think of the holidays, visions of sugarplums and elves are often displaced by visions of us running frantically from store to store, looking for the perfect gift, the perfect food, the perfect wrapping, the perfect… everything. However, all that extra running around for the perfect gifts means more trips in the car and thus more gas being burned. Similarly, the online ordering frenzy that is Cyber Monday means that thousands of extra delivery trucks will be on the road, toting our orders from place to place. Minimize your greenhouse emissions and save yourself time through organization. Create lists of what you need and try to reduce the number of trips you make. Similarly, track what you need to order from a single online vender or catalog supplier, and then try to order everything at one time so they can be packaged and sent together.
Reduce Waste One of the byproducts of the holiday seasons tends to be excess waste. Reduce food waste in a few ways. First, try not to make more than you reasonably need for your guests or celebration. Next, send excess leftovers home with your guests in recycled whipped topping (or other) containers, if you have more food than your family will be able to eat. Finally, find unique ways to reuse your leftovers so they are certain to get eaten rather than thrown away. One great way to use a lot of leftovers is to purchase a frozen pie crust. Then, fill it with cut up leftover turkey, leftover green bean casserole, gravy and vegetables. Bake per pie crust directions; it’s delicious.
You can also work to reduce paper waste. Wrap gifts in old newspapers and decorate with pieces cut from old holiday cards, old gift labels and used wrapping paper. Also use these leftover cards and wrapping paper for scrapbooking, or even making next season’s greeting cards.
Gift Wisely Another way to go green is to share green through eco-friendly gifts. For the crafter in your life, books on recycled crafts can be great fun. For the book lover, purchasing antique books at a used book seller is very green and exciting. Other green gifts can include charity donations in the person’s name, reusable sports cups, clothing made of recycled materials and so on.