It’s that time of year. Time for long to-do lists, shopping trips, and a huge pile of trash leftover after the presents are opened Christmas morning. Christmas can be a difficult time to be a good steward. Even the most green among us can find it a hard time to stay green. But, with a little planning, you can keep your holiday green without spending all your green.
There are several ways to “green-up” your Christmas holidays. Primarily they fall under two headings: decorations and gift selection. As we approach Christmas, I will be discussing different ideas that fall under these two categories so that I can help you on your stewardship journey. Today I’m starting with green Christmas decorations and wrappings.
Christmas wrapping– Here are some creative ways to wrap your gifts with less waste.
- Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper. Why? I don’t know about you, but I’m much more likely to save and reuse a gift bag than crumpled and torn wrapping paper.
- Use pieces of fabric to wrap your gifts. You can use remnants from your fabric store, bandannas, handkerchiefs, towels, tablecloths, sheets etc. In fact, the wrapping can be a hint to the gift inside. What about wrapping some gourmet treats in a fabric napkin? That way you’re encouraging the recipient to green up while giving them a delicious gift. Same goes for the handkerchief. What about wrapping some delicate soaps or lotions in a cloth handkerchief or hand towel. Even when the soap is used up, the wrapping will still be there as a reminder of your gift.
- Don’t forget the newspaper! Wrapping your gifts in the Sunday comics is not a new idea but is a great way to reuse something you have laying around the house. If you want to expand on that idea, use colorful magazine covers or pages to wrap small gifts.
- What about food gifts? I love to use and receive the Christmas tins full of homemade goodies. After I’ve gobbled the goodness (which doesn’t usually take long) I store the empty tins to fill and give away the next year. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Talk about paying it forward!
- The tree- There is some debate over which is better for the environment; an artificial tree or real tree. Check out some factors to consider when making your choice.
- Consider using the new LED Christmas lights. They’re more expensive but you’ll use a lot less energy to power them and save some money on your electric bill.
- Candles are everywhere this time of year. When choosing candles for your home, look for soy candles with lead-free wicks. Soy burns cleaner than petroleum-based waxes or even beeswax and lead wick are a concern for air quality as well. If you want to go even further to protect your air quality, choose candles with scents from essential oils instead of artificial fragrances. Want to take it even further? Ditch the candles for LED candles and use a reed air diffuser to give a holiday fragrance to the room. Air diffusers use wooden sticks placed in a fragrant oil to slowly disperse a scent throughout an area. This avoids the smoke that candles produce but gives your home a cozy holiday feel.
- Consider decorating your trees outside with a feast for the birds. String popcorn and fruit slices in the trees along with a little birdseed/vegetable shortening cake to welcome God’s feathery friends to your yard. I always like the pine cone method. It looks pretty and brings back memories from childhood. Take a pine cone (make sure it’s not scented or the type that you use to start a fire with!) and tie a string tightly to the top. Spread vegetable shortening on it with a butter knife. Then, roll your pine cone in birdseed and add it to your garland or tie it directly on your tree.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. I’m sure once you get thinking green, you’ll start coming up with new ways to celebrate the season like the good steward I know that you are!