Tips for a Greener Holiday Celebration
From shopping, travel and decorating, it is easy to get carried away during the holidays, but there are many environmentally friendly ways to celebrate the holiday season.
Meredith College Sustainability Coordinator Laura Fieselman offers the following tips to help create a greener holiday.
•Focus on family and friends rather than gift buying. Have gift-free gatherings, or draw names for Secret Santa exchanges rather than buying gifts for everyone.
•Consider giving presents that are handmade, organic or from second-hand shops. Some options to explore include buying from Craigslist or searching the Green Pages for green merchants.
•Buy from local merchants, which reduces travel and supports the local economy. In Raleigh, visit for examples of locally owned businesses.
•Buy from fair trade merchants. Locally, these include One World Market and Ten Thousand Villages.
•Wrap your gifts in reusable items, such as tea towels, canvas bags or baskets.
•Decorate with greenery from your yard.
•Get a live tree in a pot and plant it after the holidays are over.
•Make centerpieces with fruit or nuts.
•Reuse old greeting cards as ornaments or other holiday decorations.
•Make your own origami decorations. There are several holiday designs at varying levels of difficulty. Visit www.origami-resource-center.com/christmas-ornaments.html and www.origami-club.com/en/xmas/index.html for ideas.
•Use reusable plates, napkins and utensils rather than disposables for holiday parties.
•Plan your holiday party menu around seasonal, local foods. Visit www.sustainabletable.org/shop/eatseasonal/ to find out what’s in season in your state.
•Plan activities in which everyone can participate, such as a potluck dinner with the neighbors, or a tree planting with family. Winter is a great time to plant trees.
•Carpool or take a train to your destination rather than driving alone.
•Buy carbon offsets for your holiday travel. Visit NCGreenPower , or TerraPass for options.
For more suggestions, explore the New American Dream’s Simplify the Holidays Guide at www.newdream.org/holiday.
For more information on sustainability at Meredith, visit www.meredith.edu/sustainability.
Date Submitted: 2009-12-08