Environmental Defense: Greening the Holidays


Ten earth-friendly ideas to spark your imagination

Intangibles can deliver green good all year long (and reduce clutter)

1. Donate time or money to a charity in honor of the gift recipient (a gift to Environmental Defense is a good choice).

2. Buy carbon offsets in the recipient’s name. Along with cutting your own carbon emissions β€” and fuel bills β€” help your friends and family offset theirs.

3. Give a national parks pass or a membership to botanical gardens or aquariums. (For an extra-special gift, surprise with a cross-country train tour or an eco-vacation.)

Stocking stuffers can be “green”

4. Give energy-saving light bulbs. The technology in these earth-friendly bulbs has leapt ahead, and they now come in many shapes and sizes (See Environmental Defense’s bulb guide for specifics.)

5. Consider the DVD “An Inconvenient Truth“; in bookstores and video stores everywhere.

Imaginative wrapping: Think outside the box

Each American produces on average of about 4.6 pounds of garbage per day. By recycling, reusing and reducing, you can help cut down on waste that ends up to landfills. When you think recycled, let your imagination roam beyond plain newsprint.

6. Wrap gifts with colorful newspaper “funnies,” candy wrappers, mail-order catalogs or old maps. If you’ve got more time, create personalized collages and get your children involved.

7. Re-use those old linens in your drawer with holes that you will never use again. A vintage cloth can make a beautiful wrapping, particularly if you are giving to a quilter or someone who crafts items from scraps of materials. (Or if you are very crafty yourself, make puppets or potholders from scraps or old linens.)

8. Instead of bows and ribbons, attach a sprig of berries or some pretty leaves or shells. Your imagination and good green judgment are the only limits!

Setting an earth-friendly holiday table

Here are a few tips to get started:

9. Consider using recycled glassware. Reusing recovered glass saves resources and lessens the load on landfills. Definitely skip the disposables!

10. Cloth napkins impart elegance to a table and avoid wasting paper Washing them should take no more energy, soap and water than your normal weekly laundry load since you can throw them in with your clothes.

Get more ideas and sources for Green Gifts at Environmental Defense.

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