Green Christmas








The holiday season is a colourful time, in
what we see and what we feel. In addition
to the decorations and gifts, it’s a time of
love, happiness, giving and receiving. This
year let’s share some of these emotions and actions with the
Planet too, and make this season a green one.


Going green is more than just limiting our impact on global warming and recycling. It’s about realising that we all share this Planet and the space,
and that we have a responsibility to take care of it for ourselves and
others.

By following the principles of “Reduce, Reuse & Recycle” as well as
“Rethink, Respect and Responsibility” you can make a difference to the
environment and society,  as well as save money, thus greening our
Christmas and holiday season.

Keep the following basic principles in mind so you can make a difference:

•  Reduce your consumption wherever possible.

•  Reuse and repurpose items you have within your home.

•  Recycle your food and gift packaging by dropping them off at your
    nearest recycle depot.

We've put together some ideas to help you make this Christmas a special
one taking the environment as well as cost into consideration. Going green
works as you can save the environment and money!

Christmas can be a wasteful time with excess food, excess food and drinks
packaging, excess gift packaging and excess gifts.
 
By using the principals of reducing, reusing and recycling you can make
this a wonderfully green Christmas. Encourage your friends and family to
have a green Christmas too!

•  Remember to take your
reusable shopping bags when you are doing
    your Christmas shopping.


Christmas Tree

•  Select a real Christmas tree instead of a plastic one.

•
  Decorate an existing tree in your garden.

•
  Cut off a branch of a pine tree and decorate it.

•
  Use a piece of drift wood as your "tree" for decorating.

•
  If you are going to buy a tree, visit your local garden centre and buy a
    potted  indigenous tree to use as a Christmas tree so you can replant it
    in a suitable position in your garden or donate it to a local park or
    community centre once Christmas is over. Or you can keep it on your
    patio.

•
  Try and choose a real one that's organically grown without pesticides or
    chemical fertilisers. Ask your garden centre if they have an organic farm
    supplier.

•
  Avoid pine trees. Don't plant pine trees in your garden after Christmas as
    they are not indigenous and consume huge amounts of water.

•
  Use a wire or beaded tree made locally.

•
  If you are going to use a plastic tree - wrap it up and protect it after use
    so that you can re-use it for years.

•
  When its outlived its use, recycle it.


Decorations

Wreaths and Garlands

•  Christmas is the time for festive wreaths and
    garlands. Raid your garden and get ready to be
    creative.

•
  Create the base for your wreath using flexible
    branches from a vine or willow.

•
  Collect cypress or pine cuttings to layer and build
    up your wreath. Use raffia to bind the wreath
    together.

•
  Build up the top layer with decorative pieces of
    pine or cypress.

•
  Decorate with small pine cones, candles, nuts and slices of dried oranges.

•
  Use raffia to tie a large bow.

•
  Your wreath may be used as a centre piece for a table decoration with a
   thick candle and nuts in the centre.

•
  To create a decorative  wreath for your front door, add an aromatic touch
    with bundles of whole cinnamon sticks, include bay leaves or cloves in the
    wreath, thread fresh chillies on a piece of string and add for extra colour
    and texture.

•
  Your wreath may also be suspended above a table by attaching four
    pieces of ribbon or raffia and tie it to a central point above the table.

•
  Ensure that the base of the wreath looks attractive by adding extra pine
    or cypress cuttings to make the base look fuller and more generous.

•
  To decorate your wreath thread recycled glass beads, wooden beads,
    whole nuts in shells with holes drilled through them, pasta, seeds and
    chillies on lengths of string or raffia and wind around the wreath.
•  Use pine cones.


Tree Decorations

•  Avoid buying new tree decorations - they are expensive and most are not
    biodegradable.

•
  If you do need to buy new ones select handmade items that support local
    industry.

•
  Get the kids involved in making home-made craft decorations that don't
    cost a fortune. They'll also feel part of the festivities.

•
  Home decorations can also be made from recycled, scrap and organic
    materials.

•
  Make strings of popcorn and cinnamon sticks.

•
  Use ribbons and bows that you've collected from gifts you've received.

•
  Make bows from raffia.

•
  Use paper you have to make cutouts.

•
  Look for other arts and crafts ideas.

•
  Make arrangements using other leaves, ivy and evergreen branches, dried
    flowers. o  When Christmas is over, these can be used to make compost.

•
  Use items you've got around the house e.g. keys and keyrings; small toys
   (like rubber or stuffed animals, cars); dolls clothes and accessories to
   decorate your tree.

•
  Prepare a mixture of spiced cookie dough or gingerbread dough.

•
  Cut out Christmas shapes such as stars, trees, gingerbread men and
    hearts.

•
  Bake, cool and decorate with icing sugar and water mixed to a paste and
   piped around the biscuit shapes.

•
  The fragrance of the cookies will permeate throughout the house…and you
   will know that Christmas has arrived!

•
  Reuse what you can next year.

Lighting your Tree


•  Use solar lights if you want to light up your tree outdoors.

•
  Bring the solar lights indoors in the evening for an indoor tree.

•
  Decorate your tree and home with LEDs (light-emitting diodes) instead of
    incandescent bulbs, as they last longer and use 80% to 90% less power
    than conventional mini bulbs. LEDs are also cool to the touch so they
    won't burn the tree-or your fingers.

•
  Remember to turn off your fairy and other lights when you go to sleep or
   out.


Candles 

•  Avoid using paraffin wax candles, which are petroleum based.

•
  Instead select candles made from beeswax, soy or vege-
    table wax which are renewable and biodegradable materials
    and not toxic.


The Meal

•  Make your meal an organic one.

•
  Buy an organic turkey or chicken, as well as vegetables.

•
  Use fresh herbs from your garden.

•
  Create a food garden now and use your own vegetables.

•
  Make jams and jellies.

•
  Eat your leftovers.

•
  Create compost with compostable leftovers, scraps (and natural
    decorations).

•
  Have bins/containers for recycling so that all food containers are disposed
    of responsibly. Drop off all your recyclables at a drop off centre after
    Christmas. (Carry this on into the new year so that it becomes the norm
    at home and at the office.)


Gifts

Christmas Cards

•  Why buy when you can create your own?

•
  Collect pictures, newspaper cuttings, pictures from old cards, pressed
    flowers and leaves; bake mini biscuits; cut out shapes from felt or pieces
    of fabric and use these stick onto cards.

•
  Use recycled paper, handmade paper or corrugated cardboard as the base
    for your card.

•
  Be creative with your design and decorate using a non-toxic glue. Allow to
    dry.

•
  Collect interesting quotes and write inside your card for a personal touch.

•
  Keep cards you receive to be reused next year.

•
  If you aren't going to keep your cards - put them in the paper recycling
    bin when you're finished with them.

•
  Send e-cards instead of paper based cards.

•
  Buy locally made cards instead of imported ones.

Packaging/Wrapping

•  Buy wrapping paper made from recycled
    material.

•
  Reuse wrapping paper or gift bags from past
    gifts you've received.

•
  Use newspaper, brown paper, or brown paper
    bags (like you get your bread in).

•
  Iron out any creases. Use a cool, dry iron
    when you're finished doing your ironing.

•
  Avoid buying glossy foil or metallic wrapping
    paper it's difficult to recycle.

•
  Use sticky tape sparingly.

•
  Collect interesting shaped boxes, bottles, containers, large envelopes and
    gift wrap that you can use.

•
  Reuse bottles by removing labels, washing and cleaning them.

•
  Remove branded labels off boxes and packaging and replace with cut out
    pictures, old photographs or a label/card you've made.

•
  Use fabric, old scarves and bandannas for gift wrapping. This is a wonder-
    ful way to use up scraps of fabric.

•
  Cut up old items of clothing.

•
  Use a dishcloth - then the wrapping will have a use after the gift is opened.

•
  Or don't even wrap the gifts - just use ribbons or raffia.

•
  Use old VHS and cassette tape as ribbon. Twirl the end by pulling across
    the blade of the scissors.

•
  Decorate your gifts with fresh bunches of herbs and cypress, tied with a
    cinnamon stick for fragrance.

•
  Tie bows using ribbon, lace or raffia.

•
  Slice oranges and lemons and allow to air dry, or place in the oven when
    it is cooling after you've  finished cooking, and allow to dry overnight.
    •  Thread dried orange or lemon slices on a piece of ribbon, string or
        raffia.
    •  This is also a lovely tree decoration.
•  Bake cookies and thread with coloured wool or raffia.

•
  Instead of buying bubble wrap reuse bubble wrap you received in a gift in
    or use newspaper or old cloth to protect fragile gift contents.
•  Keep the gift wrap, bags, ribbons, boxes that you receive gifts in to reuse
    for future use.


Gift Ideas

Giving and receiving gifts is an integral part of Christmas.

•
  Look at your list and think about what your recipients really need. It may
    be possible to avoid giving gifts that they don't really need, but they'll still
    love. Be creative.
    •  This takes a bit more effort that just buying another toy, dish or
        handkerchief, but the love, time and effort that goes into creating
        something adds to the value of the gift.

•
  Minimise the number of gifts you need to buy by creating a lucky draw.
    •  All names can be put into a hat and each person draws a name out and
        buy/make a gift for that person.

•
  Buy locally made gifts, to avoid contributing to emission as a result of
    transport costs.

•
  Support local industry.

•
  Buy gifts made from recycled products.

•
  Provide a cooked meal.

•
  Offer to babysit or run errands.

•
  Take the kids to the Zoo or a park.

•
  Organise an environmentally friendly outing - like going for a hike.

•
  Salad Dressing is always required at the festive table.
    •  Make up a large quantity and pour into the bottles you have collected.
    •  Clean the bottles and boil them (to steralise) before filling.
    •  Decorate the neck of the bottle with a fresh sprig of Rosemary and tie
        off with raffia.
    •  The recipe for your secret salad dressing could also be written on a
        hand-made card, and attached to the bottle.
•  You can make jams, chutneys, mayonnaise or fudge as gifts.

•
  Or a fresh fruit bouquet.

•
  Give a plant that can be planted in the garden instead of flowers.

•
  Give the gift of Natural Air Fresheners.
    •  Make your own pot pourri.
    •  Collect herbs such as lavender heads, mint leaves and rosemary sprigs.
    •  Allow to air dry in an open pan or tray.
    •  Collect rose petals, jasmine, carnation petals, and whatever sweet
        scented flowers you have.
    •  Pull apart and allow to air dry.
    •  Sprinkle cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, thinly peeled orange or lemon
        rind.
    •  Once all dry mix together and place in pretty containers, old tea cups,
        baskets or bowls.
    •  For a stronger fragrance drop essential oil such as lavender on the
        mixture and combine well.
    •  Enjoy the Natural aroma of a home-made air freshener.

•
  Visit a flea market, organic market or an antique shop and see what
    treasures you can find.

•
  Make a donation in someone's name to an environmental or animal
    welfare organisation.

•
  Plant a tree in someone's name and give them a certificate. This is a gift
    that will last a lifetime.

•
  If you're buying new, more energy efficient electronic equipment, recycle
    your old electronics.

•
  A home-made Bouquet Garni is a great gift for a cook.
    •  Collect herbs from your herb patch and tie together with a piece of
        string.
    •  An interesting combination is to tie the herbs into the outer leaf of a
        leek. Use Oregano, Rosemary, Bay leaves, Celery and Sage.
    •  These can be added to soups, stews and casseroles. You will taste the
        flavour!
    •  Wrap the Bouquet Garni in biodegradable packaging, tie off with a
        raffia bow.
    •  Add your favourite recipe with the Christmas card. 

•
  A Herb Garden is a great green gift
    •  Start early with this process.
    •  Collect cuttings from herbs that root easily, such as mint, rosemary
        and lavender.
    •  Mint cuttings are the quickest and easiest to root. Simply place mint in
        a glass of water and leave until roots appear. Plant in prepared
        pots…and your Green gift is ready.
    •  Decorate with a raffia ribbon, type up your favourite recipe using the
        mint, and give good gardening guidelines.
    •  Lavender and Rosemary will require a little more effort to cultivate.
    •  Take fresh cuttings, dip into root hormone and plant in prepared pots.  
    •  Nurture and wait for the results.
    •  Type up your favourite recipe or home remedy, place in a recycled
        planter such as a treasure found at an antique store, local market or
        a  family heirloom!

•
  Kids Herb Garden.
    •  A perfect environmentally friendly gift for the youngsters is to assist
        them in starting a herb garden.
    •  Allocate a suitable planter or area in the garden for the herb patch.
    •  Start by taking the kids to the nursery or garden centre to collect all
        the required herbs, compost (if you do not have your own at home)
        and gardening tools.
    •  Enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and help the kids prepare the ground  
        and plant the herb patch.
    •  Motivate and encourage the kids as the herbs flourish.
    •  Keep up with the weeding.
    •  Enjoy picking the products!

For the 4 Legged Friends

•  Make up a mixture of dog friendly dough, with freshly chopped garlic to
    fight the fleas.

•
  Cut out doggy shapes and bone shapes. Bake, cool and tie with ribbon
    or raffia.

•
  Your pet friendly gifts are ready! Hang on the Christmas Tree but beware,
    they may be stolen before the time comes to present them to your pooch!

Batteries

•
  Give battery-free gifts.

•
  If you need to buy batteries, then use rechargeable ones.

Pass it on

•  If you receive gifts that you have no use for, then pass the gift on to
    someone who will benefit from it, or give it to a welfare organisation to
    use or sell.


Community Spirit

•  Give your time and energy to help others less fortunate.

•
  Donate your unwanted items to others that can use them or can sell them
    to generate funding for their organisation.

•
  Help members of the community who cannot afford to plant their own herb
    / vegetable garden by donating your time, money and effort to make it
    happen.
    •  Start by collecting and rooting herb cuttings,
making compost,
        collecting seeds and gardening tools.
    •  Choose a local day hospital, child care centre, school or church and
        co-opt a work force to assist you with the physical work.
    •  Provide encouragement and watch the fruits of your labours flourish.


Have a Merry Green Christmas

•  Reduce your consumption this year.

•  Reuse what you can in your home for Christmas and then reuse what
    you've made and collected for next Christmas



•  Recycle whatever you can - including packaging, food and beverage
    containers, paper and gifts.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. May it be a special Christmas filled with love, peace and happiness for your family, friends and for our planet Earth.

 
 
Green Christmas
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Green Christmas
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Christmas Tree
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Decorations
  Wreaths and Garlands
  Tree Decorations
 
Lighting your Tree
 
Candles 
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The Meal
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Gifts
  Christmas Cards
 
Packaging/Wrapping
 
Gift Ideas
 
For the 4 Legged
 
Friends
 
Batteries
 
Pass it on
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Community Spirit
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Have a Merry Green Christmas
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Create yourself a GREEN CHRISTMAS this year….
and every year thereafter




With thanks to Heidi Vollmer

Take a step in the green direction because going green works!