A TerraBlu Christmas

Written by Vera Struck

I loved Christmas time. I grew up in the Midwest where my memories of it could rival a Norman Rockwell painting! The entire family would gather to create decorations, address hundreds of cards, bake cookies, bottle flavored vinegars, make wine and handmade gifts.

The holidays are definitely a time for consumption. And yet, I see it as an opportunity to become more thoughtful and take another step towards a sustainable future.

Although I celebrate many different holidays this time of year now; here are a few things I’ve done that you might take some pleasure in trying with your family.

Decorating the home:

• Make a nature garland – Take a 6-10 foot length of used ribbons or raffia and gather pine branches, pine cones, used Christmas cards, berry branches, cinnamon sticks, family photographs, vintage toys or wooden ornaments, bay leaves or mixed nuts (in their shell)

• Rent a living Christmas tree and have your local park replant it or recycle here

• Reuse or have an ornament exchange party with friends as a way to gain new ornaments

• Consider eating fewer high energy protein foods and try a meal of local or your own garden’s produce with a more sustainable dinner plate

• Try an alternative log for the fire

Travel:

• Try to reduce your GHG emissions and resource usage by taking the opportunity to increase your health by walking, taking the transit system or carpooling in the hybrid

Giving gifts:

• Each year add a few handmade gifts or repurposed gifts, all natural battery free toys or the gift of sustainability

• Give e-books, gift certificates to events or experiences, a pass to a physical activity (gym), a ticket to a cultural event, a free lesson in music or cooking

• Make your own personal coupon books (services you will volunteer to do like computer help, cleaning, massage, yard care, shopping)

• Consumables like homemade jams, flavored honey, wines, vinegars or free trade coffee

• Use recycled, reusable gift bags or sewing material remnants and leftover ribbon or try paper embedded with seeds for planting in your garden

• Then recycle your last year’s electronics and batteries through biggreenbox

Above all, take the time to enjoy your family and the environment. Take a moonlit walk after a pleasurable long holiday repast.

And let us know your unique sustainable tips, how you celebrate your holidays in a sustainable way; we would love to hear from you.

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