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I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Eco-conscious shopping is earth friendly and can save you money.

I’m dreaming of a green Christmas. You can have a green Christmas, or any holiday you are celebrating, just by making a few conscientious choices.

Eco-gifts and creative wrappings are sure to please everyone on your shopping list, and reusing items and reducing waste will help keep the green in your wallet.

Here are a few gift ideas for clothes and housewares made of recycled materials. Who wouldn’t love a snuggly fleece jacket made of recycled plastic soda bottles or a modern picture frame made from a repurposed bicycle chain? There are millions of recycled or sustainable gifts to be had.

I recently found at a local store beautiful scarves woven from silk fabric scraps. They also had colorful trivets and coasters made from the rolled up pages of unwanted magazines, and even painted wall hangings made from 55-gallon drums.

Many stores carry kitchen items like cutting boards and serving pieces made from bamboo. You can even keep the earth in mind when you purchase electronic toys with rechargeable batteries and a charger. These batteries reduce waste and can be recycled after they wear out. Remember to take your reusable shopping bags with you to the stores too.

Gift wrap does more than cover the present; its part of the present. Stores use beautiful paper and wide ribbon to secure ample bows. Have you ever considered wrapping a gift in something other than store-bought paper? You can save money and have uniquely wrapped gifts by giving the newspaper one last use before recycling it.

If you have children, let them decorate brown paper bags with stamps and stickers. Give someone a kitchen themed gift tied up in a complementary dish towel. Wrap gifts in a pillowcase or in an old road map instead of traditional gift wrap. Save gift bags, boxes and bows from year to year and reuse them. After the presents are opened and the chaos subsides, collect the torn paper wrappings for recycling.

Before you recycle this year’s stack of Christmas cards, think about possible re-uses for the artwork on the front. For the last several years, I have used them as gift tags. I have so many; I’m considering resending the fronts of old cards as Christmas postcards this year and not purchasing new boxes of cards. You could also make placemats by sealing the artwork between two pieces of contact paper.

When the houseguests have gone, it will be time to put away the stockings and strings of lights (LED of course!). But, don’t pitch your cut tree to the curb. It can be recycled! Bring it to the Regional Landfill on Eskimo Hill Road or the Belman Road Recycling Center. Be sure to remove all decorations, tinsel and lights because your tree will be chipped for mulch and composted. Even better than recycling: dig or purchase a living tree and plant it after the holidays.

Electronic gadgets, from flat screen TVs to phones, are popular gift items. Check on donating your old one to a charitable cause. If it no longer works, watch for electronics recycling events soon after the holidays, or take the old ones back to the stores for recycling.

With all these eco-friendly ideas, even if we do have snow, there’s no reason not to have green holidays!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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