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 yourself 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. Be creative this year by making your own cards or send a photograph card.
The bottom line:
- Try to be Greener by buying cards made from Tree FREE Resources, such as hemp or kenapf.
- If you are making your own cards, use recycled paper or recycled card stock. Reuse old envelopes or again make your own with Tree FREE Resources. Please try to avoid using plastic or plastic sparkles. This custom look always give a warm and individual feel to your Christmas greetings.
- Use environment friendly inks when writing out your 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 bring your own cloth bags that are reusable. Some food stores will even reduce your total food bill by FIVE cents for each bag you bring! We have a cloth bag available at our Online Store.
SHOP and Carry® Food Wagon!
The bottom line:
- The first best step to take with this topic is walk. If you can, walk to the food store, if you 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 your reusable bags in with your next load of wash and visit our web page 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 you. 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 your own local economy and you help to reduce the carbon footprint just by shopping smarter.
If you 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.
(If you do go, remember to use public transportation in New York City.)
- A simple gift from your heart is worth a million times more than a big expensive product. Just spend a little time thinking of the person you want to get a gift for and you 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
* Do you 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
* You also can give a gift through World Vision (worldvisiongifts.org). Alex Trebek from the TV game show Jeopardy, is involved with this organization. Your 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 your time and talents to others. Ask or call your neighbor who is elderly if they need anything from the post office or supermarket when you make that trip. Help out at your church, you may be surprised to see how many outreach programs are operating or ask about starting a program yourself.
- Help out at your 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 your parents to have "date nights" again.
* Perhaps cooking lessons for a grandchild from a grandparent
* Twelve free back massages, for your spouse
* Free snow shoveling for anyone
* AND give yourself a gift by always doing things like helping to carry items up stairs for people or holding doors open for others behind you
- Consider a "coupon" book from fast food places to hand out to strangers who are poor and homeless. Yes, just be aware of your surroundings as you walk down Main Street USA. Pay attention to the details and unfortunately, you will see someone who needs your 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. We have reusable mugs at our Online Store.
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 isn't recyclable and boxes get thrown out too. 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 to where you live.
Television shows, comedians, and perhaps yourself have made jokes or wonder about all the over-the-top decorations and lights used on some houses.
- Your electric bill will go sky high if you go over the top with lights.
- If you are putting lights up outside your 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 your house or apartment for a few days or longer, you can be Greener by unpluging 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. Your 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 your Power Strip you are saving 100% on the electricity consumption.
If you have suggestions on how we can make Christmas more environmentally friendly, please become a Member and contact us. UPDATE NOTE: Membership now at GoingTrueGreen.com
Bill Lauto, at GoingTrueGreen.com
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
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