Be Green this Christmas

For many, Christmas is a time to pull out all the stops when it comes to gift-giving. Malls and shopping centers fill to bursting with consumers looking to empty their wallets and carry home piles of gadgets, clothes and toys.

With growing awareness of the problem of global warming and the risks involved with burning large amounts of fossil fuels to manufacture, package and transport goods, many people are looking for ways to “green” their lifestyle. Here are some ideas to help you and your family have a green Christmas this year.

A green Christmas may take a bit more advance planning than heading to your local mall on Christmas Eve, but going green can be a powerful statement of your beliefs by using your spending dollar to send a powerful message.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

– Instead of buying something brand-new, try making gifts and wrapping by using recycled or salvaged materials.

– Gift bags can be made by using scrap pieces of colorful cotton cloth.

– Instead of buying a brand new book or CD, see if you can find one in good condition at a second-hand bookstore.

– For those looking for gifts for kids, you can make great sock puppets out of the solitary socks lurking in the bottom of your drawer.

Get creative! Going green means you’re saving useful materials from the landfill and avoiding the environmental impact of buying something brand new.

Give Handmade Gifts

Ask yourself what kind of crafty skills you have, and use those skills to make gifts for friends and family. Most people are delighted to received a handcrafted gift because of the investment of time, love and creative energy it represents.

– If you excel in the kitchen, try making preserves, cakes, pies or bread.

– If you like to work with wood, use your skills to craft CD racks or spice shelves.

– If you knit, try stuffing a pair of hand knit socks into a stocking this year.

– If you’re not comfortable making gifts, or simply lack the time, you can give something green by buying products made locally.

Buying gifts made by local artisans and craftspeople supports the artists in your midst and boosts your local economy, as well as avoiding the carbon emissions caused by shipping.

Share an Experience

What do you give those people who have everything? Instead of buying them another gadget that they might already have and probably don’t really need, give them an experience.

– An afternoon of horseback riding, a massage or pedicure, a session in a pottery studio or tickets to a concert or play are all environmentally friendly gift ideas.

Many gifts given each Christmas end up buried in the back of the closet by January, and eventually make their way to the landfill, but an experience will last forever in someone’s memory.

With a little creativity and ingenuity, a green gift can be found to suit everyone on your list. Christmas is a great time to put your environmentally friendly thoughts into practice, and the more we practice living green, the more it becomes a natural way of living.

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