If you are trying to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, these 10 easy strategies for keeping the holidays organic can help.
Even if you are careful about keeping toxins out of your environment the rest of the year, it can be a difficult thing to do during the holidays. It can feel like you have to monitor everything from family recipes to wrapping paper.
Toxins enter the house in the form of Christmas trees, petroleum based candles, special foods, wrapping paper, and cleaning solutions that you don't normally use. Plastic toys with toxic dyes, party clothes, and decorations can all usher in VOCs and other substances that are bad for you and your home. Since most people don't want to give up this festive season, it is important to learn how to keep it as organic as you can.
10 Easy Strategies for Keeping the Holidays Organic without Going Broke
You don't have to give up holiday fun to keep celebrations healthy and eco-friendly. You don't even have to find an organic money tree in your backyard. Consider trying a few of these 10 easy strategies for keeping the holidays organic.
Keep It Simple
The holidays used to be for homemade gifts and time with family. Modern holiday celebrations look more like contests to see who can have the biggest tree, the most presents, and the richest foods. Rather than buy into that mindset, try giving yourself a budget--both with your money and your time. Allot a certain number of hours to work on holiday preparations per week. Schedule plenty of time to relax and enjoy the celebrations. Allow yourself an affordable amount for gifts, food, and clothing. Pay cash and choose meaningful gifts rather than extravagant ones.
How does this strategy contribute to an organic holiday? Less stress means less illnesses and fewer medications. You won't be contributing to the commercialism that creates such a huge carbon footprint during this time of year. Finally, you will be bringing fewer toxins into your home.
Use Soy Candles
If you like the house to be scented through the holiday season, then making an easy change to soy based candles can keep your rooms smelling wonderful and keep nasty toxins at bay. Most candles are made from paraffin. Paraffin is the final byproduct in the petroleum refining chain and will give off many chemicals including carcinogens as it burns. Candles made from 100% natural wax give off no carcinogens and burn longer. You can buy Kosher, pesticide free soy candles made with essential oils if you are concerned about chemical fragrances.
Conventional wrapping paper can contain toxins from the dyes used as well as the paper itself. By using recycled, eco-friendly wrapping paper you can ensure your holiday gifts are earth friendly. Some places to find organic wrapping paper are:
Want to save more money? Consider using fabric scraps, brown paper bags, or other alternatives to wrap gifts with.
Rather than choosing mass produced décor consider taking a hint from previous generations. Use natural items and live trees to make your home look festive.
- Trim evergreen branches and use to make swags, wreaths, and other decorations.
- Use fresh fruit baskets.
- Use materials like pinecones and acorns to add some natural flair.
Antique toys and cards can be a wonderful way to decorate your home.
Millions of Christmas cards are sent out every year. In fact, it is the busiest time of the year for the post office. Most of the cards and letters are on paper that has been chemically treated. By purchasing organic cards you can cut the amount of toxins that you release into the environment. Better yet? Consider e-cards and letters.
Millions of toys will be unwrapped on Christmas morning and a large percentage of them will be broken or cast off by Valentine's Day. Rather than buying several cheap plastic toys, consider getting one or two organic wooden toys. They are more expensive, but better for both the child and the environment in which he lives.
Almost everyone gives some sort of gift during the holiday season. This is a good time to introduce family and friends to your favorite organic products. Choose organic flavorings and other ingredients in a basket for your favorite cook or organic beauty products for your best friend. By choosing to give organic items to people who haven't used them you can show them that organic items are as good as, and in many cases superior to conventional products.
From cookies to Grandma's special stuffing, everyone has special foods that they like to eat during holiday celebrations. Many of these call for canned soups or artificial flavorings. You can make your recipes organic simply by substituting organic ingredients when you can. Organic turkeys are more expensive that the conventional ones in the stores, but you can save money by ordering early and cutting costs in another area.
Gently Used Clothing
You may have parties to go to and be unable to find affordable organic clothing that is appropriate. Consider looking for formal and party wear at thrift shops, used clothing stores, and even eBay. Used clothing has had time to outgas much of the VOCs that are created during the manufacturing process.
People often do more cleaning during the holidays. While you might not have time to make your own organic cleaning products, you can easily buy them either online or at many natural grocery stores. Consider Mrs. Myers Clean Day or Seventh Generation.
Having an organic holiday is probably easier than you think. By planning ahead you can have a healthier holiday.