“It came without ribbons, it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags.”--How The Grinch Stole Christmas
A green Christmas? It sounds kinda Grinchy. Doing things that are good for the earth but sucks all the joy out the holidays. Like wrapping gifts in newspaper…hanging stale popcorn garland…and giving handmade gifts that, let’s face it, aren’t even worthy of being re-gifted.
Well, stink, stank stunk isn’t going to be recycled this holiday season. All that’s needed is a little direction and a pinch of inspiration. But before we get to the creative fun stuff, we really need to rethink green. In other words, this year, it's time to get real.
1. Get A Real Tree. Really.
Isn’t cutting down trees bad? Yes, if they aren’t replaced by new trees. Fortunately, Christmas tree growers operate in inherently sustainable ways. Mainly because if they don’t plant new trees, and treat their land with respect, they won’t stay in business.
The truth is that artificial trees of any sort are dramatically worse for the environment. Most are made of petroleum-based materials that poison the earth. And not just when they’re eventually tossed in a landfill. But during their manufacturing processes that pollute surrounding land, water and air. So, it’s always best to buy a real tree. Or even rent one.
Rent a tree?! Yep, that’s now a win, win, win win win option. But only if you live in certain areas of the country. Like California and parts of New York . To check if this genius alternative to buying is available in your area, just Google Rentachristmastreenearme.com. Once the holidays are over, you’ll simply return the tree to the nursey or farm, and they'll replant it in order to continue providing life sustaining oxygen to our world.
Step one was pretty good, heh? On to step two. This is when it gets a wee bit more challenging. But mother earth is worth it, so on we go…
2. Give More By Buying Less.
"You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I’m saying? In your garbage. I could hang myself with all the bad Christmas neckties I found at the dump."--Grinch
Sorry. You know it’s true. We all buy too much and appreciate too little. And all that buying eventually ends-up in the garbage. Which ends-up in a landfill. A ginormous problem that is literally trashing our world.
So, what to do? Start by looking at that Christmas list and thinking about how to give more meaningful gifts. Ones that will be cherished and passed-on to future generations.
Here are just a few green seeds of inspiration:
- Give a family heirloom. Whip-up a batch of your favorite cookies. Place them on a treasured family plate (or a box, or a tin…). Detail the plate’s history and your recipe in the accompanying card, and voila! You’ve created Christmas goosebumps. And, you can do the same with an heirloom piece of jewelry, pocket knife, even a storied set of golf clubs. Anything that has significance for you and can bring connective joy to the special people in your life.
- Make a family recipe box. Yes, I’m hungry. But still, buying a vintage recipe box (Ebay, Etsy, Facebook Marketplace) and stocking it with some of your staple recipes is a truly great gift: a gastronomical tutorial and a keepsake all in one!
- Give one remarkable photograph. And I mean a good one. Then write a short history of who’s in the photo and why it’s noteworthy. Glue it to the back of a gorgeous vintage picture frame (think mother of pearl, micro mosaic, inlaid wood) and it’s a lock that yours will be the gift everyone is still talking about at the next family gathering.
- If you want to gift clothing think about visiting your local thrift shop or shopping for sustainable brands that carry organic and recycled products.
O.k., you get the idea. Give gifts that aren’t store-bought but heartfelt. They may take a bit more time, but they’ll also be more appreciated. Best of all, they’re guaranteed not to be re-gifted or tossed (unless the photo is unflattering, so no sibling retaliation here!)
Moving on step 3: Details, details.
3. Snoofs, Fuzzles And Wuzzles.
“He brought back their snoofs and their tringlers and fuzzles, Brought back their pantookas, their dafflers and wuzzles.
Of course snoofs, fuzzles and wuzzles are all lovely holiday decor. But let's focus on more essential Christmas swag like wreaths, garland and table settings.
Rather than have you begin foraging in the woods for berries and evergreen boughs, I’m going to make this easy: Just look at Elaine and Ginger’s Pinterest page called “Natural Christmas Decorations”.
In one fell swoop, they demonstrate how easy it is to create a holiday home filled with natural charm and grace. A masterful alternative to gaudy plastic (aka, toxic to the earth…) tinsel, wreaths and garland.
Not only are naturally-sourced decorations more aesthetically pleasing and authentic to the season, they’re 100% biodegradable and therefore planet and future friendly. Most of Elaine and Ginger’s ideas are ingeniously simple. But if you don’t want to spend time creating or assembling yourself, check-out local Christmas craft bazaars, nurseries, and even big shops like Lowes, that have a variety of ready-made arrangements created by on-staff designers.
So this holiday season celebrate by giving and decorating sustainably. In ways that bring joy to those you love while protecting the world we all cherish. Just remember…
Maybe Christmas doesn’t just come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!