The end of the year can be hard on budgets and on the environment. What follows are some ideas on how to make the upcoming holidays a little greener and maybe even help you keep a little more "green" of your own.
Keep giving gifts, but...Consider giving the gift of service such as cooking a meal, tuning up a friend’s bicycle, or watching the kids so someone can have a night out.
Request a donation to a charity or give a donation to a charity in someone’s name. It is nice if the charity is a cause that the person is interested in.
Give a family gift instead of a gift for each family member. Give a basket of seeds, a promise of some spring bulbs, or pots and soil for a family herb garden.
Specialty, homemade food items are a great gift. Be sure to include the recipe. Or package up a favorite homemade cookie or cake "mix." All they have to add are the eggs and oil and water if needed.
Give a membership to a museum or zoo.
Give gifts that can be passed on such as a book or game or puzzle.
Buy gifts locally from hometown, independent merchants.
Stand firm on your no-gift policy and respect other people’s requests for no gifts.
Expand your wrapping repertoireGift wrapping can also be greener. Try using towels, or t-shirts, or scarves, or pillow cases and make the wrapping part of the gift.
Decorate boxes or bags and turn them into reusable gift containers. Use newspaper, or old maps, or posters. Reuse the gift wrap left over from the year before. You can decorate your box in a patchwork if there is not enough to go around.
Redefine Boxing DayThe day after Christmas is called Boxing Day, because it was the day when the lords and ladies of the manor took boxes of food or gave money to their servants.
You can start a new Boxing Day tradition by using this day to box up unwanted or duplicate items and donate them to one of the many charities that accept used items.
And be sure to check out some other holiday and winter tips we've gathered!