holiday shopping

The Top 5 Ways you can Go Green in the Holiday Season

Happy Stuffed Animals, by fajalar

This was written by Kelly Cavanaugh of

It’s that time of the year again! In the weeks following Halloween, stores start pumping out holiday tunes, commercials start featuring reindeer and jingle bells, and your gift list and to-do list seem to grow every day. The excitement and chaos of the holiday season may mean that it’d be easy to forget your normal earth-friendly practices.
While cheerful holiday decorations emerge in red and green, here are the top 5 ways you can stay “green” in your business and at home.

1. Print holiday cards with vegetable or soy-based inks
Whether you are sending holiday updates to friends and family, or mailing well wishes to vendors and business partners, chose to print green! The ink that is used in most printing projects is petroleum-based, and its production process emits harmful agricultural residue. Find a printing company that offers vegetable or soy-based inks… they’re just as crisp as petroleum-based ink, but the production process is more environmentally friendly.

2. Show your appreciation to your team with green gifts
Many companies take time in the holiday season to recognize the hard work their employees have contributed during the year. Order re-usable coffee mug and tumbler sets that feature your company’s logo. Everyone loves a new coffee mug, and you’ll cut down on paper cup usage at the water cooler. Other green gifts may include a tree-planting kit, bamboo coasters, or products from a company that is recognized by a national environmental agency.

3. Create your own wrapping paper
Instead of buying wrapping paper for gifts for the family, get creative! Wrap a box in a paper grocery bag, so the plan brown side is left showing. Have the kids decorate with drawings or stickers, or keep a classic look by tying colorful ribbon or yarn around the box.

4. Serve organic
Try to incorporate organic foods purchased from local farmers in your holiday meals. On your next trip to the local farmers market, look out for seasonal fruits and veggies like buttercup squash, date plums, mandarin oranges, sweet potatoes, collard greens, and grapefruit. Local produce doesn’t have to travel across the country, or the world, to get to your table, which means less environmental impact, and fresher meal!

5. Take a pledge!
Brainstorm ways you can “Stay Green in 2013.” Write down all your ideas on a piece of paper, and have either your family members of co-workers sign-off on the pledge if they are committed to making small changes in the upcoming year that could help the environment for years to come.

This post was contributed by a guest poster. Find more resources for green women business owners at

Making A List - And Checking it Twice

Green Piggy Bank, by Futurilla

Most smart and prepared moms are done shopping by the first few weeks of November, but I know that I'm not, and I know that you are probably getting started with planning for the holidays.

I do believe that some tips will help you plan:


1) Choose a Green and Local Alternative.

There are plenty of options for you to purchase sustainable, natural, eco-friendly, organic, and fair trade products. When you also choose to shop local, you keep money circulating in your local economy. No need to visit a big box store when you have artisan markets and local vendors you can choose to support.


2) Set your budget.

No one needs a lot of excess plastic junk. What we do all need is a sense of love and belonging, happiness in our daily life, and the support of people around us. If you have a budget for holiday shopping, then set it - you can go with a per-person amount or a total amount for all purchases.


3) Create a list.

Make it easier for yourself by listing out everyone who you're thinking of shopping for this year. Kids, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews will probably take priority so consider getting a collection of stocking stuffers, healthy snacks, and fun supplies they can use throughout the year.


4) Stick to your budget!

Avoid temptation - once you set your list into place, keep your spending in check. Shop for deals by looking online - you can find great recommendations or answers about specific products by looking for deals.


5) Make homemade gifts this year.

I always recommend doing this with younger children, as they feel very involved in the process and can make a special gift for their loves ones including parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents and other elders. Ideas for what we've made in the past: homemade cookies and muffins, homemade candles, homemade bath salts, decorated paperweights made out of smooth stones, jewelry (you can make your own baked dough for children), and drawings or paintings.


6) Avoid credit cards.

No one wants to start the new year burdened by credit card debt from the holiday shopping. Consider how much you can spend and do it in cash, if possible. It will be easier for you to say "no" if you get to the counter and realize you don't have enough.


7) Relax.

Don't believe the hype of hyper-consumption. We are celebrating the end of the year and the love and community of those around us. We don't need to do this through buying stuff, merely by sharing tokens of appreciation with our loved ones.


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