There's going to come a time in the not-too-distant future when our kids are going to look at us with disgust when we discuss some of the not-so-eco-friendly choices we used to make; much like the way we currently look at people when they talk about not putting kids in car seats or smoking inside the house. Our resources are running out at an alarming rate, and for that and other reasons, more people are coming into consciousness about our impact on the earth.
One place that our consciousness has not evolved quickly enough is in our approach to the holiday season, so for that reason I'm going to do Raising a Revolutionary's first-ever Top-Three list. This:
3 Ways to Stay Green During the Holidays
1. Forget the debate over the plastic or the cut tree. Neither. If you simply have to have a Christmas tree, "because we have kids," or whatever reason, choose a live one. Buy it from a local nursery, looking trimmed and lovely in a large pot. Put it in your home for a week or so, and then plant it in your yard or donate it to a piece of land that needs it. In our case, we've used the same little guy three years running, and will finally plant it this year. It doesn't get much greener than that.
2. Assess needs vs wants. I almost cringe when someone asks me, "what does your daughter need for Christmas?" My response is usually "nothing," because i have a hard time believing a girl who has healthy food and clean clothes to wear needs almost anything at all, especially in comparison to the precious little that children possess in so many other places. But the reality is, she has grandparents and aunties and other people who feel the need to buy gifts, and it's hard to say no all together. I would like to be that austere, but alas.
So besides the obvious suggestions of "buying fewer gifts" or "asking for a charity donations in your name" in order to stay green, there's the added option of asking for specific things that your family might desire, but may be less tangible than a new pair of jeans. Ask for a CSA membership, grocery gift cards, piano lessons, art museum passes, or some other enriching activity in the stead of needless stuff. Be specific, because if you don't, your loved ones will be compelled to buy the jeans.
3. Get the wrapping under wraps. Seriously, multiple garbage bags left over from your family's tear-through of the things under the tree? Even if it can be recycled, (which much of it can) it's easy to fall prey to the biggest oversight among the 3 R's of Recycling: forgetting the "reusing" bit. If you have gifts to exchange, use a gift bag, and hopefully, a reusable one made from non-synthetic fibers. It might have looked ghetto a few years back, but in a few years it will look ghetto if you don't do it.
At some point, it's just going to be out to be a stuff-monger. Get ahead of the game and help green the holidays right now.