« Previous  
 Next »

Dreaming of a Green Christmas

12/05/08 5:55PM By Deborah Luskin
 MP3   Download MP3 

(HOST) While commentator Deborah Luskin hopes there's snow for a white Christmas, she's also dreaming of a Christmas that is green.

(LUSKIN) During the winter holidays, Americans typically use and discard about 38,000 miles of ribbon - enough to tie a giant bow around the earth. Over consumption threatens to darken our dreams of a white Christmas. But the celebration doesn't have to be an environmental disaster. Our Winter Holidays can be festive - and green. Here are a few ideas:
Reduce or eliminate outdoor lighting displays. Without light pollution, starlight can be spectacular, especially with snow cover. Rather than blind the darkness, we can celebrate it with moonlit walks. Indoors, we can rely on candles to create that special holiday atmosphere.
We can make gift-giving eco-friendly by following two rules of thumb: First, eliminate excess by only giving gifts from the heart, not from obligation. Most of the recipients on our holiday lists already own more stuff than they know what to do with, so consider a gift of presence - spelled with a "C", not a "T". Visit your loved ones and make meaningful human contact instead of simply handing over a package. Plan an outing to hear holiday music. Gifts of time and service are more meaningful than any plastic charm or trinket.
Second, if you do give a gift, make it one that doesn't make more trash - for example: a certificate for a massage or a yoga class. If you want to give something more tangible, try a gift that promotes green living, such as a battery recharger, a reusable shopping bag or even an old-fashioned but practical wooden rack for drying laundry.
You can make your gift dollars do double duty by donating to a charity in someone else's name. You can buy trees, farm animals, school uniforms, medicine and shelter for people in need both locally and around the world. These gifts help restore the balance of goods in the world in a small way, while placing the principle of charity at the center of the holiday.
If nothing else, reduce how much trash you generate. If you must send Christmas cards, send them electronically. If you must wrap Christmas gifts, do so creatively. Wrap kitchen gadgets in dishtowels; personal items in handkerchiefs. Reuse last year's wrapping paper and ribbon, and save it again. Most radically: Present the gift with no wrapping at all - just a kiss.
Waste management applies not just to gifts, but to food and drink as well. Buy locally produced food, sustainably farmed. While this food may be more expensive, it's also more delicious and satisfying. Eat less - you'll feel better. Compost food scraps.
These ideas emphasize the small, the local and the personal. They replace acquisitiveness with ingenuity-based generosity. And it's highly possible that thinking green will help relieve the stress that's become part of the holiday frenzy. Instead of exhausting ourselves chasing after "things" we can celebrate the holidays in ways that express our love not only for each other, but for our planet and everyone on it.
comments powered by Disqus
Supported By
Become an Underwriter | Find an Underwiter