As the holidays approach, I've been focusing on how to have a greener Christmas. From what to buy to how to wrap, I'll be sharing some of my ideas, and those of others, with you over the next couple of weeks.
On Sunday I taught an adult Sunday School class on this very subject. The discussions were enlightening and some of the ideas are worth noting. My lesson started off with some wonderful quotes from Christian leaders about the environment (including the one I posted yesterday by Billy Graham) and then we moved on to discussing how we can all have a more sustainable Christmas. Our first topic was Green Shopping. Below are some of the ideas shared in the class:
- Give gifts of service
I told the story of one of my favorite Mother's Days. I was away for the day and when I returned, two of my daughters (Bethany and Jess) and one of my sons-in-law (Tom) bought the groceries and prepared a wonderful meal, served it on the patio and then cleaned everything up. Marvelous. A day I will always remember. If they decided to do that for me yearly rather than buying me presents, I'd be thrilled.
- Give gifts of shared experiences
Plan a weekend getaway and surprise a friend or family member with a mini-vacation. I've been best friends with Dawn since we started kindergarten and in a couple of years we'll be celebrating our Golden Anniversary. I feel especially blessed to have stayed close throughout nearly five decades, despite the fact we live nearly 250 miles away from each other. Last week we decided we would go on a trip together to celebrate in 2012. This gift we're giving each other is something we're both looking forward to.
- Give gifts with a history and/or sentimental value
- Give consumable gifts
I consider gifts that will be used up to fit in this category as well, such as flowers, candles, bath products, body lotions, etc. If these are the types of gifts you like to give, look for green options, which can be found in stores like Aveda.
One of the women in my class said she used to cut branches of evergreens and make wreaths and centerpieces to give away. What an excellent idea which I'm sure was well-received!
Another woman in the group told of how one year she took decorative boxes, filled them with birdseed and then buried money in the seed. What fun the kids had trying to find their 'buried treasure!' Of course, the birds benefited from the gifts as well.
- Give live gifts
However, a live plant can be a good choice. Ask your local nursery expert which plants are easy to care for and find out the benefits of the plant you choose. For example, is it a plant that absorbs formaldehyde? That would be perfect for a new office building setting, where the air quality can actually be hazardous. Give the gift of a healthier workday with toxin-eating plants.
- Give used gifts
- Give gifts that are battery-free
- Give homemade gifts
- Give charitable gifts in the recipient's name, or buy gifts from charities
These are just some ideas for greener giving this year. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comment section of this posting. I'll have more ideas for celebrating a sustainable Christmas in the days to come. Thanks for reading!
Keeping it green,