Dreaming of a green Christmas
It’s the most wonderful time to be green.
We’ve taken some time this year to tell you about savings for the holidays, and planning ahead. Now, and as the COP 25 is underway in Madrid, we believe it’s good to think about minimizing the environmental impact of Christmas. Here are some ideas!
The average person in the US receives 17 Christmas cards per season. They are beautiful and lovely to receive and send. However, they have a significant negative impact because mass-produced ones are covered in plastic. Added to that, there are hours of fuel involved in getting them mailed. We propose three alternatives:
- Reuse old cards that you’ve kept and make them into new ones cutting out and using the ones you like on new craft paper; paper supply stores carry a great selection of recycled craft papers to make you feel better about it, too. This option is especially handy if you have kids, as you can make it a family project.
- Send an e-greeting from a free site like 123Greetings.
- Create your own seasonal message with a cool photo of your own and email it to all your friends and loved ones. If you don’t have that amazing photo, check out Unsplash, an amazing site where photographers share their work for free.
This is a big debate. Artificial trees have plastic, but last longer and do not involve the cutting of a real tree that was planted expressly for the purpose of ending up in your living room. A cut tree represents a better choice for the environment in terms of single-use resources. Both have a measurable environmental impact.
The alternative? A love potted tree that you can water during the holidays, maybe reuse a couple of years, and then plan outdoors. It’s money well spent for you and mother earth.
What about presents?
We spend hours thinking of ideas, and shopping for presents for others. Stop for a moment now and think: what did you get for Christmas last year? Do you remember any of the presents?
Chances are you don’t remember them all. The reason for that is that, ultimately, this season is more about sharing experiences and being with those you love than the physical tokens we share. So, if you are going to give presents, may we suggest?
- The gift of experience. Music or singing lessons, a ceramics or drawing class. Or teach someone how to do something you can do, like cooking, playing a musical instrument, or how to use a specialized computer program.
- Shared experiences: concert or event tickets,
- Recycled material gifts. Every online platform and gift shop has a section dedicated to these.
- Repurposed items as presents.
- Gifts made as part of the circular economy, especially local ones.
- Earth-friendly gifts and ethical gifts. If you type these online or on a site like Amazon or Etsy, you will find hundreds of options and inspiration for presents with a greater meaning.
- Donations as gifts. They’re especially useful for those people who have everything. You can make a donation in the name of someone else, to an organization that helps make the planet a better place, and gift them the certificate.
The same way greeting cards are damaging to the environment, so are mass-produced gift paper and plastic ribbons. Practical, earthy-attuned alternatives are:
- Matte, wrapping paper. The gloss is plastic so avoiding it when possible is best.
- Use recycled paper gift wrapping; it exists!
- Use plan brown paper and paint it with a glue stick to make designs and then sprinkle glitter on the glue. The result is very nifty and 100% personal. You can also do this using glitter pens.
- Avoid scotch tape by using strong wrapping paper. You can use cloth ribbon to hold it in place and make it more festive, too.
- Use gift bags that can be reused.
- Use fabric pieces instead of paper.
Without going into the meat debate, there are ways to make your holiday meal plans friendlier towards our planet.
- You can start by using local whenever possible.
- Avoid eating fish that is on the MSC fish, if possible. While the fisheries providing them may be doing things right, the reality is that these fish must be protected and farmed because of our over-consumption. The less we demand, the fewer they will be fished.
- Avoid mass produced meat alternatives.
- Make your own food (and get loved ones to help).
- Make a choice to steer away from individual drink bottles: switch to boxed wine, stay clear off soda, and buy fruit juice –especially locally produced- when possible.
That’s it for this year, folks.
From OAS FCU we wish you some wonderful times wherever you are, and send you the best, warmest thoughts for the upcoming year. Happy holidays!