Bing Crosby may have dreamed of a White Christmas, but on San Juan Island, we prefer the REduce-REuse-REcycle mantra. Christmas is no exception. Here are a few tips to help you bring the 3-RE spirit to your home:
For the Tree:
- Choose LED Lights
- If live trees are wrapped with miniature lights, the lights should be removed each year so the trees’ growth is not inhibited
- Add a dimmer at the end of miniature light strings to save electricity
- Artificial trees often contain harmful chemicals, and they eventually end up in the landfill. Instead, buy a potted evergreen that you can plant in your yard next year
- For the sake of those with allergies, you might wash the Christmas tree and other greenery before decorating to remove pollen or chemical residuals
- For the same reason, wash or vacuum decorations to remove dust particles accumulated during storage
- Decorate your tree(s) with dried orange or apple slices, cinnamon sticks, string of cranberries (or any berries) or popcorn, paper chains, pine cones, straw figures
- Here’s a great site on Etsy with tutorials for making lots of Christmas decorations
- Turn tomato cages upside down, tie ends together and decorate with tiny lights
- Used Christmas cards can be turned into tiny boxes for decorations
- Instead of a Cookie Swap, how about a Decorations Swap?
- After Christmas, charcoal starter can be made by cutting up Christmas trees; store the pieces in boxes or bags and allow to dry; use later for start outdoor grilling fires; the boughs burn well and have a pleasant scent
For Gift Wrap:
- Wrap gifts in newspaper funny pages and add bright bows, ribbon or string
- Leftover wallpaper makes lovely wrapping
- Turn brown paper bags inside out, cut and use to wrap boxes; paint designs on them, or decorate with used Christmas cards
- Cut off the back page of used Christmas cards and use the front page for gift tags or make a collage of cards as wrapping paper
- How about colorful cereal boxes as wrapping?
- Gift bags, gift wrap and tissue paper can often be reused; save them in a drawer or file box for next year
- Chef Molly makes lovely origami boxes from expired ferry schedules and other colorful papers
- Thrift shops often have remnants of fabric that make fun, unexpected wrappings for gifts
- If you are shipping your gift, use wadded up paper as cushioning, or the cornstarch-based packing peanuts that dissolve in water. Our local UPS facility accepts foam packing peanuts to RE-use, and yours probably does too; don’t buy more of that stuff, RE-use what’s already made
- RE-gifting is quirky but fun; you never know what kind of crazy things you’re going to get!
- Look for vintage and ultra cool items in thrift shops and consignments
- Home-made gifts are even more appreciated these days since so few people have time to spare for making gifts
- Give a Kiva loan in your gift recipient’s name. Note: Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. You pick the person you want to lend the money to, and the amount)
- Wherever you are, buy local
- Give gifts of membership or services: a gym membership, music lessons, theater tickets, spa services
- Give the gift of love and undivided attention
- Plant a tree as a gift or to replace what you used
Send us your “Green Christmas” ideas – we’d love to share them with our guests!