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Written by Elizabeth Jones   
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Thursday, 07 December 2017

Green Tips

Here’s your green holiday season guide—the new twelve days of whatever you celebrate! It’s December and the holidays are upon us. Here's to hoping that Santa will bring all of us what we really need: Enough courage and compassion to do something for the environment! To help you celebrate the holidays in eco-friendly fashion, I’ve come up with green gifts for the Twelve Days of … whatever it is you celebrate. I will admit that a few of these items aren’t as romantic as a partridge in a pear tree or five golden rings. They also don’t quite fit with the song’s meter, but they do help counter the consumer ethic that is so rampant at this time of year by suggesting gifts that are both thoughtful and useful.

First Day: One water-efficient showerhead. By replacing your old showerhead you can save 2,900 gallons of water per year!1

Second Day: Two certified organic or humanely raised chickens. Organic chickens are fed certified organic feed, are not given antibiotics or hormones, and can roam around free outside—often referred to as being “free-range .”2 You can now have fresh healthy eggs for yourself and your family all year long!

Third Day: Three green kid’s toys .
  1. 6
    Toys that are not wood-pressed are made without glue that gives off toxic fumes. Even better, you can find wooden toys made from wood that is certified sustainable, decorated with nontoxic paints, and made by local craftspeople. 3;4
  2. Encourage your child to get outside. Bamboo skateboards are stronger, lighter, and more flexible than conventional boards, and they are also made from fast-growing sustainable grass.5
  3. LEGOs are always a great go-to gift, and LEGO® was one of the first companies to go PVC-free and phthalate-free.7
Fourth Day: Four organic fair-trade coffees and teas . Try coffees that are local, grown without toxic chemicals, and raised by workers who are paid living wages.

Fifth Day: Five compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED light bulbs Light up the holidays with one-third the energy of a conventional bulb. Energy Star-rated CFLs8 are now on the market for $3 to $10 each. If you really want to save energy, replace your conventional incandescent lights with LEDs. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that rapid adoption of LED lighting in the U.S. by 2027 could deliver savings of about $265 billion, avoid 40 new power plants , and reduce lighting electricity demand by 33%.9


Sixth Day: Six recycled glass drinking-glasses. There are plenty of retailers that have cleverly figured out new ways to turn glass from last year’s recycled six-pack into new mugs and wineglasses. This is especially sustainable given that glass can be recycled over and over again, it doesn’t break down!

Seventh Day: Seven natural personal care products. Castile soap, active enzyme deodorant, anise dental floss, beeswax lip balm, fennel toothpaste, Tom’s® natural shaving cream and no poo shampoo will leave you clean without the excess chemicals and metals. For ideas and instructions on making your own eco-friendly personal care products check out this GreeniacsGuides section!

Eighth Day: Eight green charity donations. Memberships in or donations to an environmental organization can be great gifts. Whether your loved one gets fired up about animal welfare,11 food politics,12 or coal,13 there’s a green group out there. Law groups,14 park preservers,15 and green news outlets16 alike will appreciate the gesture. Not sure which one is the best fit? Consider charity gift certificates.17

Ninth Day: Nine safer, greener paper household items. Seventh Generation™ sells recycled, chlorine-free paper products such as napkins, paper towels, paper plates, bathroom tissue and facial tissue.18 You can also find many other compostable products , which substitute plant-based material for petroleum-based plastics and contribute to waste diversion programs in the United States. 19

Tenth Day: Ten trees . Give a gift that can help fight global warming . To absorb a little carbon dioxide (CO2) this holiday season, have a tree planted in the name of a loved one. You can have 10 trees planted in Central America and one in the U.S. through TreeGivers20 or the Nature Conservancy.21


Eleventh Day: Eleven organic food staples. When you buy food products in bulk, you cut down on packaging, reduce fossil fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions associated with long-distance hauling.23 You should be able to find these foods in the bulk section at your local health food store, local market, cooperative market, or if you live near a Whole Foods Market® or other similar chain healthy-eating oriented market. Twelfth Day: Twelve local products. Buying locally supports small farms and reduces fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions from long-distance hauling. You could also give a loved-one a membership to a local food co-op, or a share in a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm or garden.24

May your twelve days be merry and bright! And may all your holidays be green!

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4 Id.
11 There are so many animal rescue and welfare organizations out there, so perhaps pick your loved
    one’s local shelter or a wildlife fund as a starting place!
12 Here’s one to check out:
15 Again, there are so many local and national parks that need support, so perhaps you should start
     out by picking one close to where your loved one lives or that you know he/she often frequents!

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 December 2017 )