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Better Choices - 21 Ideas For Greener Holidays
November 18, 2009
What's In This Issue:
21 Ideas to Make Your Holidays A Little Greener
You don't have to give up your commitment to being green during this or any holiday season. It's tempting I know to forgo some things for the sake of convenience but a few easy to do changes can make a difference. With a little simple creativity and as little or as much money as you want to spend you can enjoy a greener more sustainable holiday season.
1.Choose recycled paper invitations.
A new item out is seeded paper. Your invitations become new plants when the invitation is planted in soil. Isn't that cool, full circle recycling offered by Twisted Limb.
2.Send invitations by e-mail.
If you and your guests are computer savvy, this is a very environmentally friendly way to inform one and all of your party plans. Evite offers a good selection of all kinds of invitations.
3.Make your own invitations.
Cut open the paper bags and lay flat. Draw lines with a pencil and ruler to make the size invitations you want. I prefer ripped edges instead of cut so I place the marked line of the paper bag on a counter or anything with a sharp edge and slowly rip along the line. The results are softer more artistic. Fold in half or leave flat and your ready to decorate. Try using stamps, glitter and glue, ribbons etc.
With the same technique you can create little bags for party favors. This works well for bags that have advertising on them, the advertisement can go on the inside.
Using the same technique, after folding, glue the two parallel sides together, I use hot glue, leaving an opening at the top. With a hole punch make holes in the top on each side so you can attach a handle of twine or raffia or even some scrapes of ribbon.
4.Choose LED lights whenever possible.
Not only are they cooler to the touch but they use much less electricity and will last so much longer.
6.Baskets make great decorations.
Use your own baskets or buy them very inexpensively from Goodwill. Depending on the look you are going for paint them or leave them natural. If they are interesting, stack them creatively in the center of the table and stick in some fresh cuttings from the florist or even better from your yard. Branches, twigs, pine cones even rocks make interesting additions or use in season locally grown fruits and vegetables in and amongst the baskets.
7.Re-use old bottles.
Colored glass works nicely. I particularly like old wine bottles. If you don't have any try a local restaurant or bar and ask if you could have their discards. Place them in the center of a table and use as vases for a couple of flowers or try some interesting branches (these could be painted).
Think in odd numbers when designing. Three items in a bottle. Five items clustered on a table. The balance is right and I think you'll agree it looks better.
8.Re-use clear glass jars
An assortment of clear glass jars can be used as holders for tea lights or votives. I like to use white votives in the glass and put them on a mirror or even a large glass picture frame, something reflective. Use greenery and branches from the yard as accents. With a little experimenting this creates a very nice, fresh looking table setting.
9.Paint old vases
I was at a resale shop and noticed a big collection of vases. You know the ones that florists use. They are very cheap and are easy to paint. You can buy the paint from any craft store just make sure it works on glass.
Sometimes it looks best when you have a mix of pieces that don't seem to go together to paint them all the same color. It unifies them. But it can also be fun to paint lots of different colors if going for a bright color scheme.
10.Use safer candles.
Look for candles made from vegetable waxes like soy and scented
with essential oils. Better for you and the environment. Most
candles are made from petroleum products and when burned can
create unhealthy smoke and soot on your walls. Essential oils used to fragrance candles are healthier. Some candles use questionable ingredients in their fragrances.
11.Shop thrift stores and flea markets.
These are especially good places to look for platters, bowls or
other serving pieces. This is also a good place to look for pretty plates to use when putting together baked items to give as gifts. It makes a prettier presentation that doesn't cost very much.
12.Choose recycled plastic.
Recycled plastic plates, cups and cutlery are available by Preserve. Target, Whole Foods and Trade Joe's carry these in their stores. You can also check online for other locations. When using plastic make it a fun thing for guests to mark their cups that way they can keep track of their cup.
13.Use cloth napkins
Cloth napkins are a more environmentally friendly choice but if you must use disposable, choose recycled brands.
14.Choose sustainable materials.
When buying new tableware consider those made from sustainable
resources. Recycled glass, bamboo and other natural materials are
a much better choice and try to buy the best quality you can
afford. They will last longer which saves you money in the long
run and creates less waste.
15.Choose locally grown or organic fruits, vegetables and even breads.
16.Look for organic beverages
Try this: two parts organic juice, one part strong tea of choice(try some of the holiday or spiced blends) and two parts sparkling water or club soda, sweetened to taste with honey or agave nectar. Serve over ice with a little squeeze of fresh lime or lemon.
17.Check into organic wine and beer.
18.Choose reusable packaging.
I experimented with Furoshiki last year and it was a big success. By using fabric, I chose a scarf, you can create a bag for your gifts. Check out this video for more info.
Also check out a Korean style of scarf wrapping. Bobo Wrapping Scarf offers how to videos and for wrapping packages with scarves or other fabrics. This kind of wrapping is so much fun and very beautiful.
19.Think out of the box.
Check out Simply Green Giving by Danny Seo for wrapping packages year round. This book is loaded with fun and unusual ideas for using things around the house for wrapping which is where this book shines. You can find Simply Green Giving: Create Beautiful and Organic Wrappings, Tags, and Gifts from Everyday Materials at Amazon.
20.Take your reusable bags.
Your reusable shopping bags work great for any kind of holiday
shopping. Keep them handy always even when shopping at the mall,
bookstore, craft fairs etc.
The Party's over
21.Save any decorations and reuse them.
If you use care in removing decorations many of them can be used
again. Rewind crepe paper back in to a roll. It takes a little
time but it works just as well the second time around. Save ribbon and wrapping paper. Whenever I have a gift with beautiful wrapping paper or ribbon I always open the package carefully so I can save them and reuse them somehow. I know some people find this tacky but it seems such a waste to me to throw away something so pretty.
You get the idea. Have some fun with being green.
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Happy Thanksgiving. See you next time.
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