Happier Holidays for the Earthgreenxmas

You may be dreaming of a white Christmas, but when it comes to a holiday so full of buying, wrapping, decorating and yes, waste, let’s take a minute to think Green. This doesn’t have to mean skimping on the goodies. Let’s start with the tree—while re-using an artificial tree works for some, you can also teach the kids about sustainability by buying and decorating a beautiful, living tree. Kid-friendly Molbak’s Garden and Home will help you decide on a perfect tree, with advice on potted-year-round, or plantable options. Collect recycled or handmade decorations — kids will love creating garlands of berries or leaves. LED lights use far less energy than traditional ones, and you can even get solar lights. Next, the gifts. Host a toy swap playdate, and enlist the kids’ help fashioning reusable giftwrap from organic linens. Of course, new gifts aren’t taboo, but consider environmentally friendly, kid-safe products—check Top Ten Toys for great ideas.  Instead of sending out cards, consider caroling together to a select group of friends’ houses. For holiday parties, turn to recycled or compostable place settings, and locally grown, organic edibles. If you didn’t get a chance to hit a local tree farm, or you’ve already picked up that pre-cut tree, never fear. Both King County and the City of Seattle offer Treecycling. Wrap up the holidays with an educational trip to a farm that practices green farming, such as Carnation Tree Farm, to learn first hand about recycling your tree.

—Matina Fresenius