Eco-Friendly Holidays and Celebrations: Ideas to Green Your Traditions
Eco-friendly-fying your holidays and celebrations may seem difficult: the shopping, the parties, the pressure to create perfection or uphold someone else's ideal (or buy a bunch of crap that no one wants anyway). It can make many die-hard environmentalists fall off the wagon. Don't feel bad. You're not alone.
Most holidays just plain stress people out. We complain of being too busy, spending too much money, and not enjoying the time we instinctively know we should be enjoying. We feel a sense of obligation to "do" or "buy". We often listen to what we feel are Have To's, instead of what our instincts tell us. But I promise, it's all in our outlook. You don't have to sacrifice your traditions or your enjoyment to be kind to the environment and have a sustainable holiday.
The underlying message of all eco-friendly holidays: Simplify.
Greening your holidays shouldn't only impact the environment; it should also positively impact our experiences. By simplifying what we do and how we do it, we are better able to slow down, relax, and enjoy our loved ones and our celebrations.
A holiday gives one a chance to look backward and forward; to reset oneself by an inner compass. -May Sarton
A truly sustainable holiday is one that holds meaning to us. Whether it's a spiritual or religious belief, or a family or personal tradition, we should enjoy and prioritize what is most important first.
Start by finding your focus: Identify your own sense of tradition or importance within any holiday.
- What matters most to you?
- What do you not wish to lose and what do you wish to gain?
Once you've found your focus, move from that place and examine every detail.
- Identify Stress: Look for things that give you a sense of dread or cause you to stress. Why is it stressful? Is it necessary? If it truly is (which is actually pretty rare), can you simplify it? If not, how can you eliminate it or find an alternative for it?
- Identify Waste: Look for and make a list of things that create wasted resources (including money, time, energy, etc). These are the things for which you'll be seeking alternatives first.
- Involve Others: The holidays are about spending time with others. Talk to friends, family members, and co-workers. Recruit your neighbors. Share ideas and work on making some of these changes together.
- Relax! You may not be able to make sweeping changes in one season. Decide what to tackle first: one big thing or several little things; the stressers or the wasters. Set a goal and do what you can.
Below are listed the major celebrations and ways to transform them into eco-friendly holidays.
All About Gift Giving
Gift giving can be a challenge. Waste becomes difficult to avoid, especially when obligation affects our decisions. Instead of a list of what to buy, learn the principles behind how to shop sustainably and apply that to all your gift giving. you've found your perfect, sustainable gift don't waste your eco-effort with regular wrapping paper. Opting for fabric gift wrap or other creative gift wrap ideas is not only sustainable, it's beautiful and unique for a truly memorable gift giving experience.
- Green Giving Guidelines
- 10 Eco-Friendly Gifts for 2013
- Creative Gift Wrap Ideas
- Reusable, Fabric Gift Wrap
Earth Day History, Activities, and Crafts
Earth Day, which occurs on April 22 every year, is a great opportunity to connect with family and friends in celebration of the Earth and to get involved in your community or local region. It's a fun way to talk to our kids about our choices and how they impact the world around us, and get them involved in activities that can teach them sustained lessons. You can look for events happening in your area, or use the following articles to create your own plans, either just in your own home or in your circle of friends.
- Earth Day History
- Earth Day Activities (plus submit your own!)
- Earth Day Crafts (plus submit your own!)
Show your loved ones you care for them, their ideals and the environment (without chemical-laden roses or chocolates made with GMO sugar) with these green Valentine's Day ideas for sustainable ways to spend the holiday...plus a bonus of the sexiest environmental tips around.
Read More: Green Valentine Gift Ideas
From costumes and parties to trick-or-treating and jack-o-lanterns, you can trick the consumerism, treat the kids, and have a blast with a Green Halloween! (Ha! See what I did there!) Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, despite the crap it could stand for. Instead, it's a day of fun, creativity, and self-expression. And fun and laughter IS sustainable.
Read More: 22 Green Halloween Ideas
Possibly one of the easiest holidays to "green", a sustainable Thanksgiving dinner spent around the table with loved ones is all about simplicity, gratitude, and awareness of life's many blessings. With just a few ideas to green your food, centerpieces, etc, you can make this a thoroughly enjoyable day and a yummy way to share your eco-friendly lifestyle wit others.
Read More: 12 Steps to a Sustainable Thanksgiving
No doubt you are thinking about polishing your menorah, dusting the dreidels and starting the search for the perfect presents. But have you considered you're environmental footprint this year? This guest article discusses ways to transform your traditions without losing their meaning and purpose.
Read More: Eco-Friendly Hanukkah Traditions
Yes, I know. Christmas can suck when it comes to the environment. But it doesn't have to. Beat the consumerism and waste - from gifts to decorating and beyond - and discover easy, enjoyable ways to create an eco-friendly holiday with these ideas.
Read More: Creating a Green Christmas
As you approach the New Year, why not also approach your New Year's resolutions with a different, more holistic perspective? Ask yourself how changing your life can also change the world.
Read More: Resolving What Really Matters
What else would you like to see added to this section? Let me know in the comments below!