Sending cards to family and friends with a few sharing words is a positive action when done a little at a time. Start early and never try to do this alone in one or two days. Do a little every other day or so, but start on December first every year and take as long as three weeks to get the task done. Let us be creative this year by making our own cards or send a photograph card printed with Eco-friendly ink.
The bottom line:
- Try to be Greener by buying cards made from Tree FREE Resources, such as hemp.
- If we are making our own cards, use recycled paper or recycled card stock. Reuse old envelopes or again make our own with Tree FREE Resources. Please try to avoid using plastic or plastic sparkles. I am very concern about all these little pieces of plastic getting into our air and water. They never go away, just keep breaking down to smaller and smaller pieces.
- Also remember that this custom look always give a warm and individual feel to our Christmas greetings.
- Let's use environment friendly inks when writing out our cards, printing them or printing photos.
We all heard the jokes about the Check-Out person asking us if we want paper or plastic. This year let's bring our own cloth bags that are reusable. Some food stores will even reduce our total food bill by FIVE cents for each bag we bring!
SHOP and Carry® Food Wagon!
The bottom line:
- The first best action to take with shopping is walk. If we can, walk to the food store, if we must drive a vehicle at least take the one with the best gas mileage.
- With using Reusable Cloth bags, just remember they get dirty and if some food leaks, eggs break, or meat packages drip, bacteria can grow. Throw the reusable bags in with the next load of wash and visit our website's Blog posts to learn more about saving energy when washing clothes:
- A much better way to shop green is with a Shop and Carry® food wagon! No bags Needed at all! Check it out.
We are very fortunate to have so much food available to us on a regular basis. We must stop taking this fact for granted and take more time to be thankful. In addition to that, we have to make time to realize how we can be saving and making a difference.
- Stop buying foods that have to be shipped thousands of miles to get to us. Buy from local farmers who take pride in growing organic produce or sustainable meats.
- Organic and local fresh foods have been shown to taste much better and are healthier for us.
- Showing support by buying from local farmers (within 200 miles from where you live) helps our own local economy and we help to reduce the carbon footprint just by shopping smarter.
If we have yet to read the short story "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry, please do so. In fact, the digital download of this story would be a great gift for any friend or love one. William Sydney Porter used the pen name O. Henry and the story behind the story is that he wrote this at Pete's Tavern on Irving Place in New York City. Without giving away the whole story and the plot twist at the end, a newly married couple deal with buying each other a Christmas gift without money. The story will put things into perspective and a lump in your throat. Perhaps a visit to sit in the booth where Mr. Porter wrote his short story would be a great gift to do with family and friends. Pete's Tavern is the oldest remaining bar in New York City and has a amazing history.
(When going, remember to use public transportation in New York City.)
- A simple gift from our heart is worth a million times more than a big expensive product. Just spend a little time thinking of the person we want to get a gift for and we will know what would be best to give.
- Charitable gifts made in someone's name has a low carbon footprint and will not only put a smile on the face of the recipient, but benefit other people in need. For example:
* Have a tree planted in a U.S. National Forest for a person who loves nature and the outdoors
* Know someone who loves animals? A donation can be made to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) where the recipient can choose the animal with a Gift Adoption Card
* We also can give a gift through World Vision (worldvisiongifts.org). Alex Trebek from the TV game show Jeopardy, is involved with this organization. The donation in a love one's name can bring clean water, farm animals, Honeybees, a plow, seeds, a sewing machine, a bicycle, an education, art and music, job training, tools, clothes, safe homes, bibles in a child's own language, soccer balls, medicine, and stop exploitation for people around our world in need.
- Also at home donate our time and talents to others. Ask or call our neighbor who is elderly if they need anything from the post office or supermarket when we make that trip. Help out at our church, we may be surprised to see how many outreach programs are operating or ask about starting a program yourself.
- Help out at our local soup kitchen, meals on wheels, or be a BIG Brother or BIG Sister.
- Create your own coupons such as:
* Three nights or days of free babysitting for parents to have "date nights" again
* Perhaps cooking lessons for a grandchild from a grandparent
* Twelve free back massages, for our spouse
* Free snow shoveling for anyone
* AND give ourselves a gift by always doing things like helping to carry items up stairs for other people or holding doors open for strangers
- Consider a "coupon" from fast food places to hand out to those who are poor and homeless. Yes, just being aware of our surroundings as you walk down Main Street USA. Pay attention to the details and unfortunately, we will see someone who needs our help, even here in America.
If you are going to buy a gift, get one that helps with the Three Rs: Reduce, Recycle, Reuse. For example, a reusable mug or cup can help our environment and save energy.
Everyone in the family has opened their gifts, what remains is two 30 gallon sized plastic bags filled with ripped, torn, and soiled (perhaps some eggnog spilled) wrapping paper that isn't recycled.
The bottom line:
- The majority of wrapping paper and boxes get thrown out. This is a tremendous waste all around. From wasted energy to filling up landfills.
- Reuse old wrapping paper, bags, and boxes from prior years
- Remember the Three Rs: Reuse old holiday cards by tearing off the cover image and using them as gift name tags for next year. Thus Reducing the need to buy new name tags. Recycle the back half of the cards.
- With Styrofoam, peanuts, and air filled plastic bubbles remember these Do Not break down and decompose in landfills. These items can be used over again each and every year. When they are no longer usable, then visit Greenpages.org to learn where the closest drop-off center for these items are locally.
Television shows, comedians, and perhaps even us have made jokes or wonder about all the over-the-top decorations and lights used on some houses. Yes, we all need to remember the real reason for Christmas and keeping Christ in Christmas is easy after we see Jesus’ real face and full passion on the Shroud of Turin.
- Our electric bill will go sky high if we go over the top with lights.
- If we are putting lights up outside our house to whatever degree, use the new LED lights to save energy and money. An approximate savings of at least 60% should be seen between old incandescent decorative lights, up to 7 watts each and LED lights that use only half of one watt to 2 watts each. Realized savings can be as high as 90%
- Remember Charlie Brown's Christmas tree and the real reason for Christmas? Simple is better for most people, so try to stay away from all those Blow-Up Decors that use fans and lights.
Many of us travel to see friends and visit family during the holidays. When leaving our house or apartment for a few days or longer, we can be Greener by unplugging electronics that always draw electricity even when off.
The bottom line:
- The majority of electronics, including games, cable boxes, and TVs are on Standby Mode even when off. Our electric bill is about $10.00 higher per month just for having the cable box and video game plugged into the outlet!
- Unplug these items when going away for two days or more. So by pulling the plug or shutting off the Power Strip we are saving 100% on that electricity consumption.
If you have suggestions on how we can make Christmas more environmentally friendly, please contact us.
UPDATE NOTE: Membership now at GoingTrueGreen.com
Bill Lauto, at GoingTrueGreen.com
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
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