In the words of Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
This is a time of great transformation, and we can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Lead by example and use this holiday to share with your family and friends, your love for them and the planet. Make choices that tread lighter on our earth and possibly teach others to become conscious custodians.
Just how can we take what we know and do things better? If you must buy new things for the holidays, please think about making a commitment to be a mindful consumer. Make a statement to your friends and relatives by committing to buy green, buy local or don’t buy at all!
Here are just a few ideas to be the change this holiday season:
In years past, I’ve either grown or purchased local and seasonal fresh goodies to make canned fruits, veggies, or made sauces, pickles, and jams to share for the holidays. It’s not too late for me to make my famous hot pepper jelly. If you’ve never canned, it’s really quite easy. Look for supplies at your “local” hardware store or grocery. I often find great jars at garage sales, then purchase new lids. I found a wholesale site with great prices.
Cosmetics with Consciousness
An annual $4.6 million is spent on cosmetics during this gift giving season. If you want to buy cosmetics or skincare products, please consider buying planet- and body-friendly brands. Visit Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep to learn about the healthiest brands for humans and planet.
Earth-Friendly Personal Care Products & Services
Think about things that can help loved ones live a little gentler on the planet. For instance I have one sibling that still uses disposable razors. I think I will buy her a lovely non-disposable razor. Or I could purchase a gift certificate for a series of wax sessions at our local European Wax Center, which uses natural products to remove hair. Shhh…don’t tell her!
Eco-Friendly, Healthy & Fun Toys
Send a message to manufacturers and retailers about what’s important by your choices—for instance, if you are buying for wee ones, consider wooden toys made from sustainably sourced wood, using non-VOC paints and finishes, or clothing from local or recycled textiles, etc.
Charitable Giving in Their Name
Giving is the greatest gift and the need for giving is at an all-time high. So pick a charity that means a lot to you or your loved one and donate in their name. Then write something meaningful on a recycled Christmas card that they can treasure.
Recycle Christmas cards
I’ve been saving Christmas cards that were sent to me for years. Think about cutting the front of the cards off and reuse them, by either writing on the back, like a post card, and sending them out; or use them to decorate your presents. Consider eCards! If you want to send out cards, there are some really fun eCards. Earn special butterfly points that can be used to make charitable donations by using the ecards on Care2.com, one of the Green Divas favorite sites for learning, sharing, and giving back!
I’ve always believed in supporting my local businesses and artisans, and they need us more than ever now! Check out a holiday craft festival and find some wonderful and unique gifts.
Creative Re-Purposing for Holiday Wrapping
I have used brown paper bags as holiday wrapping. You can turn the print on to the inside and decorate with your recycled holiday cards and left over ribbons, or have the kids draw on them, or make potato stamps and use some old paint from the garage.
I am the traveler of the family so everyone knows that the presents wrapped in old maps under the tree are from me. I don’t really use them anymore since my phone can get where ever I need to go.
My son is an architect, so his presents are wrapped in old blue prints.
Crafty friends might appreciate cloth wrapping, that can be reused into something else—tie with pretty yarn for a knitter!
One really good reason to reduce your use of wrapping paper this season:
The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) estimates that 10.4 million hectares of tropical forest are permanently destroyed each year, which is the equivalent of almost 80,000 acres a day, so the last thing the planet’s beleaguered forests need is another reason to chop them down.
So find some quiet time, which is your gift to yourself, put your creative cap on, and come up with something that is meaningful and appropriate to each of your loved ones.