The holiday season brings so many joyful things to look forward to, especially for kids! They are mesmerized by the twinkling lights that adorn trees and homes against a night sky. Their excitement overflows with the prospect of gifts chosen just for them.
Often, well-intentioned holiday traditions can be a real burden on the environment. Did you know that between Thanksgiving and Christmas, trash increases by 25% in the United States alone, amounting to a million extra tons of garbage each week? In addition, over 2 billion holiday cards are sent each year, enough to fill a football field stacked ten stories high. Food consumption (and waste) increases along with energy use during this time.
As an environmental school, LMSS works to educate our students how to celebrate while also being kind to the earth. Classes work on gifts from the heart and hands rather than a store. We talk to them about how to think of others who are in need at this time by sponsoring people on local giving trees and collecting food for the food shelf.
There are many ways you can make small changes that will have a huge impact. Best of all, they don’t have to comprise your holiday cheer!
- Consider alternative gifts of your time, experiences, or passing on something of value.
- Instead of traditional wrapping paper that is produced, packaged, and shipped only to end in the landfill after one use, consider alternative wrapping such as newspaper, magazines, maps, or beautiful fabrics that can be used again and again!
- Use technology to ditch the paper cards this year and instead send greetings through email, Facebook, or other social media.
- Switch to LED lights and remember to recycle your old lights (this can be done at the Rotary Lights display).
The internet offers many resources to take your greening of the holidays plan to the next level. Visit the Center for the New American Dream and download their Simplify the Holidays brochure. Many of the ideas not only help Mother Earth, but also your budget.
Let’s show our children that we are interested in connection, gratitude, and love over material things.