Every year around this time I start stressing about sending holiday cards. It is not just the expense of sending holiday cards to every family member, friend, neighbor, teacher, coach, etc, but the thought of where those cards go after the holidays. THE GARBAGE! While I love receiving cards with the sweet, smiling faces of my friends’s children, I hate knowing that those cards will end up in my trash as well, and eventually the landfill. I read an article that stated 25 % more trash is thrown out during the holidays, which amounts to an extra 25 billion tons of garbage in the landfills! Yikes! Feel free to cut me from your holiday card list. I won’t be offended!
This year I have decided to go green and send an e-holiday card through paperless post.While I realize not everyone will appreciate my holiday e-card and may even be shocked I would even consider it if you read my last post on technology, I at least will feel more ecologically responsible. (I still believe in hand written thank you cards, though!) There are many online companies that offer this free or low cost service of sending e-holiday cards. You can even send a photo e-card! Other green options include buying holiday cards that are printed on recycled paper or that are compostable. Instead of printing out the annual letter, email it. Send a video message wishing all your loved ones a happy holiday.
Another way to save garbage from the landfills this holiday season is to reconsider your gift wrapping options. If you must buy wrapping paper, look for wrapping paper that is printed on 100% recycled paper. Reuse paper and ribbons from years past. For larger gifts (or really any size) make a game out of finding them by presenting the recipient with clues to find a hidden gift. I love the classic look of butcher paper and twine. Keep the kids busy by having them decorate the butcher paper with markers or stamps. Butcher paper is a greener option because it does not contain the harmful inks and coatings that wrapping paper contains, and can even be recycled and reused the following year!
Consume less. Gifts, that is. I have young children and I know that they love receiving presents, but there is no reason to overindulge just because it’s Christmas, especially when there are so many unfortunate families who go without during the entire year, not just during the holidays. I think one gift from each family member to another is perfect. Plus we know Santa likes to share the wealth! Although, I see that winding down in the next couple of years now that I have a third grader. I (aka Santa) try to stick to these five categories when it comes to buying gifts for my children:
1. Something they want (toys, arts and craft items)
2 .Something they need (socks, underwear….usually goes in the stocking)
3. Something to read (thankfully my children think books are the greatest gifts!)
4. Something to wear (Justice clothing for my pre-tween daughter could also be something she WANTS, but my 6 year old son also requested a certain kind of pant)
5. Something to share (usually a game. This year its Jenga).
There are many more ideas out there to green up your holiday! Good luck and GO GREEN!