Note: First published in December 2010, we have updated this blog with some news and great green items! Enjoy!
For a non-Christian country, Japan celebrates Christmas to the max, but not for traditional or religious reasons. Not to mention that most Christmas trees and decor are depressing blue color lights! Singapore inaugurated the Orchard Christmas light up with no less than their President, a national event to herald shopping hoarders. Ti’s the season of extreme enterprise just like everywhere in the globe. In the Philippines, they put up the Yuletide trimmings as early as September, to bring the holiday cheers early amidst typhoon time. It’s simply a silly spell of trash and bash for profitable purposes. So before your Christmas becomes just a blur of stress and duress, get guided by these holiday eco ethos and lighten your impact to the environment.
1. Buy green gifts. Consider eco-friendly and socially-conscious products and think about impact and environment when buying gifts. Remember the environmental effort and message gives more meaning, so look for a green approach for each gift: i.e. organic products, reusable, recyclable and really useful.
2. Reuse, reduce & recycle. Be creative in practicing these principles: reuse gift wrappers, reduce waste, recycle unused gift items and give them off. These 3Rs in gift giving is not only economical but less stressful!
3. Eco shopping bags. Bring your reusable shopping bags when heading out to your gift buying spree this season and avoid plastic bags abound. Check out these ideas from Echo Store, Serendra, Philippines.
4. Shop online. Save fuel and energy. Instead of charging out in traffic and lining up kilometric queues in stores, shop online instead! Items purchased online can be delivered straight to your recipient, so it can also cut down effort in personal delivery and again, fuel in driving around to give those gifts!
5. Cool gift certificates. Instead of buying ordinary gifts, buy something special like a concert ticket, spa certificate, book club or gym trial and the like. Your friend will think of you as a cool and considerate giver.
6. Gift of charity. As a great alternative to buying another picture frame, mug or socks for the person who may not need more of the same, give them the gift of charity, a donation to an environmental project or to any other organization for the needy. Donate to these charities or purchase gift cards in their name- donation for a community devastated by typhoon, solar power for grassroots families, or reconstruction of a school in ruins, etc. There are so many humanitarian and environmental organizations in need of support where you can contribute, in the name of a friend.
7. Christmas cards from recycled paper. Thousands of cards each year are bought every yuletide season. Consider the alternative E-greeting card and if you must, buy Christmas cards from recycled paper. Think Amazon Forest and deforestation before you buy that Christmas card.
8. Biodegradable wrappers and bows. Use recycled paper and natural materials instead of plastic or metallic wrappers and bows. Needless to say, they’re easier to dispose and less harmful to the environment. These calls again for creativity: reuse materials, or make the wrapping part of the gift, such as scarves, baskets and or reusable decorative boxes.
9. Re-chargeable batteries. When buying battery operated toys, encourage use of re-chargeable batteries; educate children as early as tots about the proper use of recharging – they’re not only eco friendly but also economical.
11. Live instead of plastic Xmas tree. Purchase a live tree to use as Christmas tree and it doesn’t have to be a traditional fir. Santa will not scold you if you use other foliage as Christmas tree as you can re-plant them in your yard after the holidays. Besides, it serves a natural indoor air purifier. Use natural décor non-plastic, non-hazardous materials and low consumption lights.
12. Avoid wasteful consumption. Think.Eat.Save. as UNEP campaign goes. Christmas is a garbage fest. Before the gift opening and feasting begins, set up your garbage disposals accordingly – for cans, bottles, paper etc. Again, practice the pre- and post party 3Rs. Remember to be thankful, not wasteful.
13. Last but not the least, if you are planning to spend Christmas holidays elswhere, travel green and make your vacation more meaningful with our Green Travel ideas. Support our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. – SSTDI campaign for Green Reconstruction of Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron, Palawan, in the Philippines. Help our grassroot communities recover their livelihood, with sustainable reconstruction and green energy.
Christmas has almost lost its essence due to over- commercialization and excessive hype. Make your Yuletide more meaningful and less stressful. Think outside the gift box a little and you can have greener Holidays that may benefit the environment and humanity. Is your Christmas green? Share your eco holiday season tips, please add them to the comments section!
Photo Credits: Echo Store for the Reusable Gift Packs, Gift Bags. Tokyo Midtown for its Champagne Illumination.