I have evergreen ewes that line the back of my yard. I trim just the highest tops down a foot or so in late November or very early December depending on the weather. The trees nicely keep filling in and growing and I have very fresh greenery for decorating in my home. I keep them outside under my porch or in my garage till I decorate and they never drops needles. If in the garage, I let them sit upright in 5 gallon buckets with a little water to help keep them fresh. I buy my Christmas tree from a Christmas tree farm in the area.
Instead of buying a tree, we will be decorating our large umbrella tree. Gifts will include books on home food preservation and apples from our trees and home made canned goods.
I am turning alpaca poooooooooooooooooooo………..p and shredded Burr Oak tree leaves into my veggie gardens soil. No other chemical additives or ammendments into the soil
I will be making wool oven mitts and pot holders from left over yarn from other knitting projects…..first I knit them, then I “felt” them in the washing machine…..Great gifts for just about everyone!
I made the “DIY Holiday Book Wreath” over the weekend – it turned out gorgeous and is already hanging on the wall at the suggestion of my fiance:). Instead of making cookies this season with my mom and sister, I’ve invited them over to make book wreaths. So easy, not much to buy; they are simply awesome! Thanks for the great idea, Laura Bracis.
In our home we give coupon books for “Gifts of Service”. A few idea are, making a bed for a week, washing windows, back rubs, movie of your choice, lunch at your place of choice and a chore your choice. One of my favorite gifts and memories was from my grandmother when my kids were 1, 3 and 5. I love the holidays but just dread putting away all of the Christmas tree trimmings and ornaments in their special wraps and boxes. My grandmother’s gift to me was to put them away for me. I remember feeling less stressed and enjoyed having my grandmother over for the day.
I now realize we were being Eco before it was cool. We could only afford a real Christmas tree once or twice since we’ve been married. Then we decided to buy a fake tree. Once we got a cat, the fake tree had to go to someone else. He wouldn’t stop climbing it. So, my husband and I Built an ingenious Xmas tree that is 6′ tall that is wide at the bottom and tapers in at the top. It has three shelves and coat hooks. When we’re not using it as a tree, it doubles as a coat rack for the rest of the year. For Christmas, it is decorated with ribbon and lights and glass floats and globes in all shapes and sizes that I’ve collected over the years.
You can buy old over-sized, outdated Atlas books at thrift stores really relly cheap…the pages make great gift wrap!
Especially fun if you can find a place that is special to
the recipient of the gift.
We don’t use wrapping paper. About 5 years ago I bought, after Christmas, a large selection of decorative boxes. We reuse these every year.
I love a real tree, so we buy a 3 ft potted evergreen that is native to our area. We will dig the hole this weekend while the ground is still soft and keep the dirt in a wheel barrel in the garage. We will use the tree in the house during Christmas and plant it as a family in the yard on the 26th. With the hole ready and that replacement soil soft we just have to add the tree to the hole and water it and we will have a living reminder of the Christmas for years to come. The first time we did this was 20 years ago and that tree is now taller than the house!If you want to do this and don’t have a place to plant it, contact a local school, church or park and see if you can donate it to them.
In addition, newspaper for wrapping or reusable shopping bags. Gifts of seeds collected from the yard, homemade noodles, birdfeeders and birdbaths made from yard sale dishes.
Will deliver family gifts in reusable grocery/shopping bags.
For my Eco friendly holidays, I am using origami wrapping style so I do not use tape. My gifts (or rather supplies to make it) this year are all bought locally. I am creating sort of a gift basket with dried soup mixture for my recipient’s lazy days, knitted hand towels to urge them to go without paper towels, and knitted shopping bags to rid the use of plastic bags. Also including diabetic friendly cookies, brownies and other snacks.
I try to reuse things.. like buying from a reuse store. We use bags we have. We have started to donate to charities since my husbands birthday is around christmas or we purchase experiences, travel. Things like this that we and others will remember and not just stuff.
This holiday season, I am creating a tree skirt using old blankets and pillow cases that are no longer usable in their current state. I am creating luminaries using old soup cans with holes punched out to form designs, then placing reused wax and a new wick in each one.
I am gifting each household with a Florida avocado, Persea americana, pit and directions for growing an avocado tree. This will help preserve our dissipating supply of this native plant.
I’ve been making gift bags out of fabric finds from rummage sales, Christmas bazaars and bits and pieces from sewing projects for a long time. When I started, I intended to do it for a few years until everyone in my family had enough to give to each other but they keep giving them away! But I do know some people who have been using the same bags of mine for years and years.
Many people still have wrapping paper from past years. We all get tired of patterns…so, I am holding a swap paper party in November! No paper that is already made, goes to waste…and no one buys more paper this year! We already buy recycled…but this takes it farther!
I will green the holidays by 1. Giving less. Too much crap is given and received that no one really needs. 2. Giving existing items that I know would be special to someone else – old family treasures, etc. 3. A local craftsman sells beautiful, useful cheese boards and other items made from broken scraps of granite countertop, saving them from the trash. 4. Minimal gift wrap, decorating with natural items from our yard like magnolia leaves, holly, etc.
This year I used thrift store sweaters to make stockings for everyone in my family. ($2 for more than 30 gifts). I’m filling those stocking with homemade gifts such as bath salts and treats. To wrap everything up, I’m putting the gifts in the stockings, then folding the toe of the stocking into the opening and adding a ribbon and bow – voila! Beautifully wrapped present. with zero actual wrapping! I’m so excited for Christmas!
My holiday gifts the last couple of years have been themed around 1) Reuse, and 2) Experiences. By reuse, I mean I find rare, quirky items (often for not much money) at antique malls and estate sales. This isn’t something you can do too terribly last-minute; in fact, I shop all year long, or at least get started by late summer, because I have to root around for the “perfect” fit for the various personalities in my life (vintage silk scarfs, leather jackets, early 20th-Century books, costume jewelry, art). I hit antique malls whenever I have to travel outside of major metropolitan areas (where retailer prices are inflated based on more affluent customer base, and a lot of times the “good” stuff is picked over, with only “junk” remaining — ‘course, “junk” is a totally subjective , as one person’s trash is another’s treasure). And by experiences, I mean I typically give restaurant gift cards to the foodies in my life or overworked couples who need a nice date night. A progressive-minded, locally-owned restaurant franchise that would otherwise be a pretty pricey place to eat (Sunset Grille / Cabana / Midtown Cafe here in Nashville) annually does a “buy one, get one 50% off gift card” for a holiday special. And being from Music City USA, I also give concert tickets. For example, my mother wanted to see Johnny Mathis on Valentine’s Day with our Nashville Symphony, and she just *lit* up when she opened the tickets on Christmas Day. This year, she’ll get tickets to Smokey Robinson with the Symphony, also on Valentine’s. Giving her the chance to hear live, the music from her coming-of-age years — she just gets so excited. Her happiness makes for my happiness. In either case (reuse and experiences), there’s nothing, really, to go into a landfill, and there’s an awful lot to treasure: between one-of-a-kind keepsakes and music memories.
This Thanksgiving, we’re foregoing the usual supermarket butterball turkey in favor of a turkey raised on a nearby farm and sold at our local Amish farmers market. We’re even kicking it up a notch by serving local wines and cheeses as pre-feast nibbles.
When I make cookies and give them out in saved coffee cans. I also use the fronts of last year’s Christmas cards as the labels for gifts instead of buying new labels. I also started giving gifts like taking my grandma out to a nice dinner or some other excursion – less stuff that she doesn’t need anyway and time with her grandchildren, which she loves!
I got this idea one day scrambling to find wrapping paper for my Mom’s birthday present minutes before the Post Office was about to close. I saw grocery store circulars on a random stoop and snatched them up! Now all of my wrapping paper is made out of old circulars and discarded newspapers. It might sound strange but the presents turn out to be just as beautifully wrapped!
1) NOTHING disposable will be used when entertaining–plates, cups, napkins, and cutlery are all permanent. This is really cheaper, folks. And your stuff does not have to match. We get dishes, napkins, etc, at thrift stores and mix and match. It’s fun, colorful, and eco-friendly. I had some cloth napkins for over 10 years. They just get softer over time.
2) ALL gifts will be purchased from locally-owned stores or local crafts people. No mail-order, no big-box store shopping. This decreases greenhouse gas emissions for shopping, and supports local businesses.
3) Gifts will mostly be food, cookbooks, other books by local authors, kitchen utensils made by local people out of reclaimed wood, or wooden toys made locally. Everyone on our list eats, likes to cook healthy food, and reads.
3) Gift wrapping will be in reusable canvas shopping bags and sturdy boxes, with real fabric ribbon we reuse every year. Gift tags are made from the Christmas cards we received last year, along with other reused paper.
4) Decorations will be locally grown evergreen branches, pine cones we collect on walks, and other natural items that we can compost after using.
I take down an invasive cedar tree to decorate each year and I’m giving “experiences” as holiday gifts this year to my loved ones. For those who don’t want an experience (trip, field day, night out, etc.), I give small hand-made, local items, wrapped in re-used brown paper bags. I gift all of my holiday cookies in re-used coffee tins.
This year I intend to do more of my shopping at local small stores and farmer’s markets as opposed to online. I also hope to hand-make some gifts for close friends and family. I hope that this will bring more of a special feeling back to the holidays.
This year I’m getting the older kids gift cards so I won’t have to wrap their presents and they’ll get to pick what they want instead of “settling” with what I would get them (we all know how preteens/teenagers are!). For the younger kids, I will wrap their presents in either the pages from an old super hero calendar, the pages from an old children’s book that has been partially destroyed, or reusable bags. I also send out plantable holiday cards.
I always use colorful newspaper pages (including those for the liquor store) for wrapping paper. To decorate them, I don’t use ribbon, but instead I glue the pretty front pages of past holiday cards to the top of each. It’s recyclable and all recipients understand that.
I agree with Kathy. Our family has donated to charity rather than give “stuff” for over ten years, and we feel better about giving to a charity than about getting some useless trinket that clutters up the closet. We have enough heirlooms without cheapening them. Now that our parents have passed forward, we give to an organization that meant something to them — a grand remembrance of their generosity to us and to others.
My emphasis for all things in life – is REUSABLE! I Make, Give and Use for the Holidays things that are always Reusable and never disposable. There is a tendency when giving parties, to make things more “convenient” to use throw-away paper and plastic products, which I never use any more. Also in my online shop of Handmade items, I emphasize some alternatives to throw-away things to use for Holiday entertaining, such as Washable Cotton Baskets, Mats, Decorations: http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/studio/RSSDesignsInFiber/0/0/47316 — and I do Custom Orders for the Holidays if I get the orders early enough!!
SHARE YOUR IDEAS
GREEN GIFT ARCHIVES