The holiday season is upon us in all its consumerism glory. While no one wants to be the scrooge that pulls the incandescent plug on this most brilliant celebration, some traditions could do with a twist. Here are a few ideas to make this a season of giving to future generations as well.
• Think “quality” vs. “quantity.” A product that will last for years is much more sustainable than an item that works only a few times before breaking and having to be replaced. This mantra also works for menu planning. Consider featuring guality locally grown or raised food items at your special meals this season.
• Purchase gift cards rather than taking a risk on an item that a person may not really need or want. This way, you can be sure the person will get good use out of your gift. Especially consider gift cards that can be used for services or experiences (rather than resource-heavy "stuff") and that support businesses that operate in an eco-friendly manner (the Pikes Peak Sustainable Business Network membership web page is a good resource).
• Purchase gifts that don’t burn through the batteries or electricity. Items made from sustainable materials such as fast-growing bamboo or renewable wool, that are made with fewer chemicals, or are made locally are a good way to go.
• LED or solar holiday light decorations.
• Bring your own shopping bags – it’s not just for the grocery store anymore.
• Save the holiday cards you receive this year and cut them into shapes to be used for gift tags next year.
• Decorate paper shopping bags with paint or scrap paper rather than purchasing gift bags. This also works for wrapping paper - reuse scrap paper from around the home or workplace (check the recycling containers) to wrap your gifts.
• Purchase items made from repurposed materials, such as the travel cosmetic bag made from re-used vinyl that I picked up at CJ Kard.
• Purchase a live Christmas Tree and plan it in your yard after the holidays. Or, just decorate an outdoor tree with bird-seed ornaments.
• Choose wrapping paper (no metal foil) and gifts that can be recycled.
• Second-hand items, whether from an on-line posting or an antique shop, can be a great way to go because it gives an item a second life with a new owner thus reducing the demand for natural resources.
• Purchase items made from recycled materials, such as the frisbee I picked up at Poor Richards Toy Store.
Carrie’s top eco-friendly gift ideas:
1. Housecleaning service gift card with a company that uses “green” eco-friendly cleaners.
2. Stuff stockings with furnace whistles, low-flow washers and other money-saving devices from Conservation Hardware or your local hardware store.
3. Gear to encourage bicycle commuting from solar-powered Old Town Bike Shop or another local bicycle store.
4. Gift card to Pizzeria Rustica, the only Green Restaurant Association-certified eating establishment in Colorado Springs, or any restaurant that serves local or organic foods.
5. Anything from the Smokebrush Gallery Eco Art-Market.
to learn more about environmental sustainability in Colorado Springs.