Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Love Mother Earth this Holiday Season (November 17, 2009)

I am always striving to do better in treading lightly on the Earth, so with that in mind I wanted to share some ideas for making this season greener and simpler.

1. Have a willingness to change your shopping, decorating, and celebrating habits. Do you always wish the holidays were simpler and less hassle? So does everyone else. If we want to get more out of Christmas/Hanukah/New Year’s, let’s do less.

2. With that in mind, consider giving fewer gifts to family and friends. My husband and I strive to give each of our children a few really meaningful gifts. Usually this consists of something to wear, something to read, and something to play with. We try to find a balance that strikes the chord of just enough.

3. Shop local when you can. And by local, I don’t mean a chain in town. I mean a real independent shop. I’m partial to the downtown courthouse square myself. Go spend some time browsing the shops and get a cup of coffee at Noble Coffee & Tea (bring your own travel mug) or a homemade ding dong at Logan Street Marketplace.

4. Shop secondhand stores. Why? Items are less expensive, recycled, and your purchase benefits good organizations. Don’t forget craigslist and eBay, and for new gifts that support artisans, try etsy (www.etsy.com).

5. Buy fewer plastic/battery operated/insanely packaged toys and gadgets. Recycle cardboard boxes and plastic packaging.

6. Bring your own reusable bags when shopping.

7. Wrap presents in kraft paper (can be recycled), re-used gift bags, fabric bags, or not at all. You could hide the unwrapped presents and leave 3 clues as to where it’s hidden.

I hope these ideas help you—visit my blog at www.cachetwrites.com for more ideas and to leave your own comments!

**more thoughts--instead of a regular gift exchange at large family gatherings, have a silly exchange.  At last year's family gathering, I instructed each participant to bring 2 prettily wrapped presents that are cheap but preferably useful, some examples would be: a pack of pens, washcloths, a bag of peanuts, etc.  Then we went around in a circle and each person could choose one from the pile or steal one.  On it went till everyone had 2 presents.  It was a hoot.  This could of course be modified to everyone bringing a secondhand item, either one they bought at Goodwill or one they brought from home.  Another idea would be the stipulation that everyone bring something they created themselves (or that someone else made).

Speaking of family gatherings and other parties--use real dishes.  Most people have a dishwasher, so it's really not a big deal to put them in the dishwasher.   Sooo much less trash is generated this way.  Use cloth napkins, too.

Consider a family membership to an area museum as a gift.  Conner Prairie is excellent (and so close).

Commit as a family to tread more lightly on the earth.  Brainstorm together.  Ideas--Recycle more . Walk or bike more places.  Drive less.  Buy used as much as possible. Wear clothes several times before washing/re-use towels.  Buy or make your own natural cleaning products. 

Either skip the christmas cards, or send out postcards instead.  Either way, you'll be saving paper AND money on stamps!

I'm sure I will think of more!

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