Greening your Winter Holidays

Did You Know???
* Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the average homeowner generates 25% more landfill waste than during the rest of the year.
* In addition, we use more energy because of extra traveling and various holiday festivities, like decorating with lights.
* According to the Energy Department, if all conventional incandescent holiday lights in the US were replaced with L.E.D. lights, annual energy savings would total 2 billion kilowatt-hours—enough to power almost 200,000 homes for an entire year.
Tips on how to save time and money – and protect the environment – this holiday season.

1. Decorating
Deck your halls with natural and recycled ornamentation.
* Make your own ornaments using natural materials such as pine garlands, holly boughs, cranberry garland (with seed pods, thistles added) etc.;
* Make paper decorations and ornaments from salt dough;
* Instead of buying new Christmas tree ornaments, reuse last year’s or purchase vintage ornaments from a flea market or thrift store;
* Make & hang orange pomanders. Learn how from Martha Stewart.
* Set outdoor lights on a timer to conserve energy/reduce light bill;
* Purchase LED lights— they cost more but save money on energy in the long run (use 85-95% less energy, last longer, and remain cool to the touch);
2. Trees/Menorahs
Make sure the centerpiece of the season isn’t the most harmful to the environment.

* Christmas tree, your greenest option: buy a tree with roots so you can plant it after the holidays. Give a gift to the environment this year.
* Live (cut) trees should not be landfilled or burned; use trees for mulch or to create a habitat in the backyard (Look for E.J. Harrison tree recycling information in your billing);
* Many people think of an artificial tree as being more eco-friendly, but that depends on materials used and how it’s made. Eventually these trees will end up in a landfill.
* Use beeswax or soy wax candles in your menorah. They burn cleaner than paraffin wax candles.
* Collect glass jars out of the recycling bin and make your own Menorah;
* Buy a Menorah made out of recycled materials;
3. Entertaining
Entertaining can be expensive for you and the planet. Think sustainable not disposable.

* Don’t use disposable cutlery, dishes, or cups. Need more place settings? Buy inexpensive plates and silverware at a thrift store;
* Send email invitations instead of paper ones. Not only does it save paper, but it makes it easy for people to RSVP. That way you’ll know exactly how much food to buy. Sending is free on Evite and other online card sites;
* Purchase holiday themed glasses and plates to use as party favors – people can use them during the party, and then take them home. You can even fill them with leftovers!
* Buy locally grown food and seasonal produce – both are generally cheaper;
*Compost fruit and veggie scraps (even the lemons and limes from those mixed drinks!)
* Recycle bottles, cans, cardboard, paperboard, & paper – be sure to check what E.J. Harrison will collect at the curb;
4. Shopping
Buy local, it’s not just for food anymore. It saves gas, is good for the local economy, and convenient for you!

* Remember your re-useable shopping bags when you are out doing your holiday shopping. You don’t only have to use them in the market;
* Be conscious of the way the things that you are buying are packaged. Avoid buying items that are excessively packaged, and try to buy things with packaging made of recycled material or that can be easily re-used or recycled;
* Avoid buying items that are disposable;
* Buy items that have chargers instead of disposable batteries. Or, make rechargeable batteries part of your gift;
* Save gas by reducing your shopping trips. Make lists (on scrap paper!) of what you need to buy before you head out. You are less likely to forget something, which could cause another drive to the store;
* Have to ship your gifts? Pick a shipping company that is conscious of curbing global warming with their business practices. DHL & The US Postal Service rank on top according to
5. Greeting Cards
Each year 2.65 billion Christmas cards are produced. That’s enough to circle the Earth ten times! Use the following tips to help reduce next year’s numbers.

* Make your own cards. Magazines are full of holiday advertisements, so before you recycle them, clip and collage your own holiday greetings.
* Email your holiday cards this year. (Who wants to lick all those envelopes anyway!) Sending is free on Evite and other online card sites.
* Use old holiday cards again by cutting them into gift tags or gluing them to recycled paper to make new cards.
* After the holidays are over, send the front covers of the cards you received to the St Jude’s Ranch – The children make new cards by gluing the old card front to recycled paper.
6. Gifts & Batteries
During the holiday season think about the gifts you buy. What are they made out of? How are they made? What precious natural resources are used?
* Give gifts that use little resources themselves such as tickets to an event, gift certificates, or organization memberships to museums, clubs, or conservation organizations like the Ojai Valley Green Coalition!
* Make something or bake something. Give gifts you’ve created yourself such as herb vinegars, beeswax candles or other craft items. Follow this link to Earth Friendly Crafts & 25 Eco Chic Ideas for Your Home.
* Donate to a charity in the name of your loved one.
* Support carbon-reducing projects by purchasing carbon offsets for your recipient’s carbon footprint.
*Buy used. Shop at local thrift stores or check the classifieds. It’s inexpensive and saves useful items from the trash. Check out: Ebay, Craigslist, and Freecycle (free stuff!)
* Whenever possible, buy gifts made from recycled materials and/or renewable resources that are minimally packaged such as natural cosmetics, unpainted wooden toys, and clothing made from organic or recycled materials. Can’t find it locally? Check out this list.
* Give rechargeable batteries. They have 28% less impact on global warming than alkaline according to WIRED magazine. These rechargeable batteries plug right into a computer’s USB port. For other options, check out:
7. Wrapping
Don’t waste one scrap! Lots of everyday items can be re-used to wrap up your holiday gifts.
* Cut brown paper bags into squares and tape together to make a piece large enough to wrap present and then tie with raffia.
* Use handmade cloth bags or scarves to wrap gifts that can then be reused throughout the year. Even paper gift bags can be re-used from year to year.
* Use picture pages from old calendars to wrap smaller gifts.
* Save the colored comic page from the Sunday paper throughout the year for a stock pile of holiday wrapping paper.
*Save boxes! Why give away part of the present with a box from the store you bought it in? Put that t-shirt in an empty cereal box. You don’t even need to wrap it!
* Wrap like TV moms. Wrap the lid and bottom of a shoe box separately. The gift will be easy to open by lifting the lid, it will look fancy, and you can use it over again!