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Go Green this Christmas
By: Caley Walsh
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I recently moved to a very environmentally-conscious neighborhood, where terms like organic and hybrid are the standard, rather than the exception. While I was certainly making steps towards a greener lifestyle before the big move, I find it much more at the forefront of my thoughts now. We make choices every day that affect the environment, from the duration of our morning shower to our sandwich choice at lunch, and every effort to be greener helps. This Christmas, feel good about your purchases with these ideas for green Christmas gifts.
Skip the shopping mall this season and buy local, handmade items whenever possible. Your dollars will not go towards all the plastic packaging and the carbon emissions caused by product transportation to big name retailers. By shopping local, you will also be supporting your community. Look at local craft fairs for jewelry, clothing, decorative items and toys for the kids. You also have the option to shop local from the thousands of handmade items on Etsy.com.
Better yet, save a bit of money and help the environment by making your own Christmas presents this year. Look for items around your house that can be recycled into something new. Turn old leather belts into hip cuff bracelets with a bit of embellishment. Take old sweaters and felt them to create Christmas ornaments or throw pillows. With a bit of creativity, even plastic bread tags can be turned into something gift-worthy.
Put together eco-friendly gift baskets for your family and friends. You can even make the basket, and just add some Christmas ribbon or fabric for that seasonal touch. Inside the basket, place items such homemade beeswax candles in Christmas colors, soft ornaments and/or a recipe book made in recycled paper or homemade paper. Gifts in a jar are easy and thrifty for Christmas. Ideas include homemade shower scrubs, dry cookie or drink mixes, soups and even canned salsa.
The best ideas for green Christmas gifts are not only green themselves but also encourage their recipients to be green. As the gift giver, you can make a reusable shopping bag that your recipient will want to carry instead of acquiring plastic bags. You can knit, crochet or sew a tote bag using eco-friendly yarn or fabric, including bamboo, hemp and organic cotton. For something easier, purchase a plain canvas tote bag and embellish with buttons, ric-rac, ribbon or felt flowers. If you can sew, you can make reusable sandwich or snack bags using simple muslin or other fabrics. These are sure to save your recipient money too!
Whatever the present, make sure you are wrapping your Christmas presents in an environmentally-friendly way. Instead of creating a lot of paper waste with wrapping paper, make reusable gift boxes or gift bags. Sew your own gift bags in holiday fabric with ribbon drawstring for quick and easy wrapping. Or, use environmentally friendly yarn to crochet or knit a reusable gift bag. With a coat of paint, even a shoe box can be transformed into a Christmas gift box. Try white snowflakes on a blue background for a simple version.
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