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Go green this Christmas

Saturday, November 20, 2010 by: Shona Botes
Tags: Christmas, green, health news

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(NewsTarget) Christmas is associated with an abundance of food and gifts. Many gifts are not truly appreciated by the receiver (when last did you wear that purple and orange sweater that great-aunt Maude gave you)? So often, gifts are given merely for the sake of giving, and little thought goes into giving something that will be appreciated or even made use of. This is a tremendous waste of resources. Gas used in traveling to stores to buy gifts results in higher co2 emissions; landfills overflow with unwanted items; etc. The list goes on. Here are a few ideas for green gifts, as well as for making the time with your loved ones as eco-friendly as possible:

Consider giving a gift certificate for a local spa or natural health and wellness centre. This can be for something as simple as a neck and shoulder massage. A gift certificate from a local restaurant that offers green food choices also makes a good gift. Websites like www.dinegreen.com, offer a search function which enables you to find green restaurants in any particular area in the US.

Herb gardens are becoming increasingly popular as people realize the benefits of fresh, living herbs instead of irradiated herbs offered at grocery stores. Why not pop along to your local garden store and enquire about herb garden starter kits? This would normally consist of a few herb plants, as well as other items needed to get started, and it would make a great gift for those wanting to consume living herbs. They generally require little maintenance.

www.localharvest.org offers the ability to search your area for organic farmers, farmers markets, co-ops, online stores, and organic meat processors. Consider using this tool before doing your shopping for your Christmas meal, to ensure that you support local farmers and get fresh, organic produce as well. Also, do not purchase more than you will use.

Avoid wrapping paper by using reusable bags that the recipient can make use of at a later stage. Metallic gift wrap should be avoided, as it is difficult to recycle. Besides, it`s what`s inside the gift that counts, not the wrapping. If you choose to forego wrapping gifts, they can be hidden, and a treasure hunt or gift hunt can be played instead.

Consider doing a toy swap with neighbors a few days before Christmas. Kids don`t care if the toy is new or used. It will be new to them, which is what is important. Should batteries be needed for gifts, consider giving rechargeable batteries with a charger along with the gift.

Avoid using packing peanuts to package gifts, as these are toxic to the environment. Rather use recycled paper to stuff inside boxes.

Boil cinnamon sticks or cloves on the stovetop instead of using store-bought synthetic scents around the house. They smell a lot nicer. Use natural decorations around the house such as twigs, pinecones, acorns and berries. Recycle your tree by trimming the branches off and using it as mulch in the garden. On this note, trees purchased from organic tree farms are far more environmentally sustainable, as more trees are always planted to replace those sold.

Finally, consider giving a gift that will give back to the local community. By giving a small or large donation, you will be able to help fund the purchase of a cow or even clean drinking water for a disadvantaged community. These gifts will go a long way in improving the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves, and they are the perfect example of "giving is better than receiving" this Christmas.





About the author

Shona Botes blogs about green living, budgeting, saving money, natural remedies and humour (which is often combined with the abovementioned topics). Her spare time is spent tending to her organic herb garden, cycling and engaging in photography.
Her blog may be viewed here
Some of her photography work may be viewed here
Other articles written by her may be viewed here

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