GIVE THE EARTH A GIFT
It's a wrap
For decoration ideas, you can wrap packages in old fabrics, maps, posters, newspapers, magazines or junk mail, secured with hemp or jute twine. Package gifts in reusable bags, pillowcases, baskets or recycled boxes. Make your own awesome wrapping paper by decorating paper bags with fallen leaves, twigs, and flowers from outside, or purchase 100 percent post-consumer recycled wrapping paper. Decorate your home with popcorn and cranberry strands, squash, fruits, fallen twigs, pine needles, seeds - whatever you canfind in your yard or on the sidewalk. Going with friends to look for materials can be a fine adventure.
For celebration ideas, have a gift exchange where everything must be handmade. Send 100 percent post-consumer recycled holiday cards, email, or give phone greetings. Use reusable plates, flatware, glasses, and linen for parties in your home, and away from home. Keep a spare set ofplates, flatware, and glasses in your car, in case your forget to bring them. If you do remember, then you will have an extra set for a friend.
Recycling cans, glass, cardboard, paper and plastic is especially important during this time since such a huge amount of waste is generated. Purchase minimally packaged foods and bake goodies from fresh ingredients. Compost your food scraps.
Try to minimize energy usage. Be sure to turn off lights when rooms are not in use. Minimize holiday lighting by using beeswax candles when you can. (They make a beautiful light source, smell wonderful, and are longer lasting than paraffin candles.)
Purchase organic foods: they are an immense benefit to the planet, they taste better and have a longer shelf life. Attend farmers' markets for fun and discounts. Bring your own bags when shopping at the mall or market. Use non-toxic household cleaners, detergents, furniture polish, window cleaners, laundry products, drain openers, and non-aerosol air sprays.
For gift ideas, you might want to consider holiday clothes made from organically grown fabrics. Items include sleepwear, bedding and towels. Hemp products are the strongest and most durable around. Backpacks, hip-packs, hats, wallets, jewelry, jeans, shirts, coffee filters, checkbook holders, luggage, paper and cards made from hemp all make excellent gifts. Natural incense, sage and sweetgrass add a nice touch to the holiday atmosphere.
Books are fabulous gifts - especially ones on the environment, health, nature, and vegetarianism. A pre-paid registration for an interesting class or workshop is a fine gift and a great surprise. Organic and recycled children's toys, educational eco-toys, and organic cotton children's clothes, as well as non-toxic body and bath products, are great for the kids. An elegant hemp or organic cotton holiday dress is a nice way to look great, and celebrate the earth. Membership in an environmental organization, peaceful music, gift certificates for massage, reflexology, chiropractic and related services, and membership to a gym are all healthy gift alternatives. A book on macrameand a roll of hemp twine are great gifts for teenagers.
Where to shop
Remember that the holidays are not about giving and receiving things, but about giving and receiving love. Gifts that are beneficial for the earth increase the love, the true intent behind gift giving. Love and blessings to everyone this holiday season, and to our dear, sweet earth.
Written by: Rhonda Hill
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