Tag Archives | fake tree

A Greener Christmas Plan

I wrote a guest post for Yummy Mummy a few weeks ago and I’m so grateful because the topic was ‘greening your Christmas’ and it helped me set a plan for this Christmas. I think these steps can help anyone, no matter where you are on your greener journey, so please take a look at these suggestions. I’ve added a few more since the Yummy Mummy article as I had an epiphany of sorts thinking about Black Friday shopping this year. If you follow me on Facebook – you’d know this stuff!

How will I get rid of it?

If you are shopping for someone in your home (kids, spouse, etc.) ask yourself this one question “how will I get rid of it?” In this article, we learned that from day 1 after purchasing anything to 6 months later, we are only still using 1% of our purchases. The Story Of Stuff video asks us to look at our consumerism and wonder if it’s possible that 99% of ‘stuff’ we purchase is trashed?  If this staggering fact is true, asking ourselves this one question every time we shop is so important. Do you want to know something scary? At the end of the summer, my household was trying to purge old toys that we’ve had for years and took them to the local thrift store. They turned away all of our toys because they simply had too many. Have we junked so many household items that the donation stores are now full?  Now what do we do with them? Before you purchase that plastic toy, fake Christmas tree, fake Christmas wreath, inflatable anything, plastic nick-knacks…ask yourself the question. In North American society we need to become responsible for our own crap. You bring it into your home and life – you are responsible for it’s disposal. I think this will be a huge trend for 2012…we see examples of a greener society and supporting local for 2011. I believe responsibility of one’s own garbage will be huge for 2012.

From The Kitchen

Did you know it’s cool to can? Harkening back to how our grandparents thanked the special people in their lives is making a comeback. Christmas baking, canning, layered ingredients & attaching the recipe in a mason jar is a wonderful and healthy way to say I love you this holiday season. It’s really the reason why I sourced these beautiful mason jar inserts. Adding a splash of ‘hip’ to a classic idea is never a bad idea and these inserts are gorgeous! Also a very cool way to make baked goods healthier is not adding synthetic food coloring to frosting, icing, etc. This is now easy with all natural food dye!

Gifts That Give Memories

Do you still remember the first time you saw The Nutcracker or first professional football/hockey game? Are you trying to encourage your child’s love for nature or a local aquarium?  Giving gifts that will give a child experiences or a memory is a magical thing. Check your local ticket master and checkout if a play, sports event, Disney On Ice, ballet, symphony, etc. is happening between Dec – Feb. I would have never thought my boys would be interested in a symphony, but it was their favorite field trip of all time from school. I think children just love something different and if they’re getting quality time from a special adult in their life – even better!

Holiday Décor

Holiday décor is a wonderful opportunity to bring the outdoors inside! Go on a pinecone, acorn, and leaf expedition around your neighborhood and see what you find. Line the middle of your table with gifts from the earth that can later be composted. Replace traditions that involve disposable décor; paper holiday crackers can be replaced by reusable felt crackers, cloth napkins & advent calendars, and earth friendly decorations crafted with reusable cotton.

Gifts Wrapped Up

Think outside the box this year with gift-wrap. Imagine the tons of waste after each family opens gifts Christmas morning and the environmental impact. Reuse what you already have or invest in reusable gift-wrap. Start traditions within your family and trade cloth Santa Sacks that can be used every year and passed down as heirloom gift-wrapping solutions. Have an old sheet of fabric not being used? Discover the art of tying knots to wrap gifts called furochic. Start early with Christmas crafts and have your children paint craft paper or use newspapers for greener gift presentation.  If you don’t have time to get crafty, source gift wrap or gift bags that have seeds embedded. Kids love the concept of giving items that friends or relatives can plant!

Toy Packaging

The plastic packaging surrounding a gift indicates the quality of the gift inside. Toys that are packaged in plastic, bound with plastic ties is a reflection of what’s inside. Talk to your family and children about how gifts are commercially packaged. Discourage gifts that are surrounded by non-recyclable, wasteful packaging. Encourage gifts that have been gently used. Shopping for gifts 2nd hand is wonderful for helping to reuse what we already have on this planet and great for staying on budget.

Shop Local

Select a few gifts on your list and make sure they are manufactured locally. Seek out companies that not only ‘design’ locally – but also look for items ‘manufactured’ local. Finding a gift that has been hand crafted is a great feeling for both the person purchasing the gift and receiving! Many locally made gifts have a wonderful story – make sure the recipient learns the story of why and how the gift was created.

Tree Debate

It’s the age-old debate: fake or real Christmas trees? Which one is better for the environment? Since learning that all fake Christmas trees are made from PVC – a toxic material that releases dioxin – my view is this: if you are currently enjoying a fake tree, by all means keep reusing! If you need to purchase a new Christmas tree, visit a local tree farm. Or switch things up this year and decorate a tree outside. Here is a full article on why fake trees are toxic.

Make this holiday truly memorable by shopping in a way that feels good. Big box shopping can be cheaper, but does it give you a good feeling like supporting a smaller store or business? Are there areas you can green and the effect will ripple?  Think of your child’s classroom – most holiday gift or card exchanges are very environmentally unfriendly. Select plantable cards and organic candy canes so allergies aren’t a problem. Keeping things unique, magical, fun, and green is easy this year!



Greener Holidays & Eliminating PVC Under The Tree

Hello!  I’ve been away for ages and miss writing terribly so I’m thrilled to be covering a few different issues on my mind: greener ways to wrap gifts, the annual ‘fake or real’ Christmas tree debate, and Toys R Us and toxic toys. Much of my time in the last 2 months has gone to sourcing for my on-line store Green Planet Parties. I wanted to find items that were very green and practical…items that are truly unique, truly green, and still whisper Christmas when you see them. What do you think about gift bags, gift wrap, gift tags, and cards that are seeded with wild flower seeds so they can be planted once they start to tear?  Sounds kinda cool right?  I thought so – I’m very proud of the category called ‘Christmas Wrapped Up‘ and the products listed here are either plantable or reusable. Not only are the plantable items magical, but the reusable cloth santa sacks, Furochic wrap, fabric gift tags, and wooden clothespin reusable/vintage vibe items looking great!  If you are like me, I cringe when I wrap presents for people or even when I reuse traditional gift bags because there is a strange odor from them.  It’s not my imagination..I’m convinced they are coated with something toxic. I know I should be using newspaper or craft paper, but sometimes (especially around the holidays) you want unique and seasonal presentation with gifts.  Enter plantable gift bags or wrap and cloth Santa Sacks – these products are truly green and will remove any guilt with wrapping your gift and leave you singing Fa La La La La the entire time!

My next holiday themed topic is the annual debate of ‘fake vs. real’ Christmas trees. Which one is truly kinder to the environment? Some people say that reusing a fake tree is a better choice because you’re not cutting down young trees each year.  Others will argue that trees grown specifically for Christmas season is a better choice for the environment. I haven’t felt qualified to cover this topic in recent years but I’m ready to voice my opinion and let me start by saying we’ve used a fake tree for close to 6 years and I always felt a little smug because the thought of cutting down baby trees made me sad.  But – then I learned that all fake Christmas trees are produced from PVC.  This is the plastic (#3) that is called poison plastic.  You just need to understand that after you purchase a fake tree it will never leave the earth in an environmentally kind way.  Never. It’s taken me years to fully understand that a fake Christmas tree releases toxic dioxins into the air, into our bodies from the time the plastic is produced with making it, after you purchase it (the reason it smells) and there isn’t a way to effectively dispose of the tree. If you burn it – more dioxins are released, it cannot be recycled, so it will continue to exist when discarded for a very long time. The issue of PVC isn’t only about it’s harm to the environment, but also human heath.  Please note that I’m not suggesting anyone with a fake Christmas tree throw it away.  When something is functional, it should be reused as much as possible.  This information is for people struggling with the decision of “should I purchase a fake tree this year”?  When I purchased my fake tree, I had no idea what it was made from. Now I can make an educated decision on my tree this year, but it won’t involve throwing out a fake tree if it’s still usable.  Would I ever purchase another one?  Definitely not.

A new trend last year were little tree companies that will bring you a potted tree to use over the holidays, then it’s returned to the nursery or transplanted. It is easy to find they companies using Google but I warn you, this option is wonderful and very eco-friendly, but it’s expensive. Could you not purchase a potted tree on your own for less money I wonder?

Or – a very sustainable option exists out of Chicago.  The price of this tree is the equivalent to an expensive fake tree – but it’s lovely and hand made, and I want one all for myself to decorate with acorn ornaments.  This picture is from the talented Forestry Handmade site… get ready to swoon.

Now that I’ve softened you up with wonderful relaxing photos of handcrafted Christmas trees, I have some hard facts about toys and PVC. I have drafted so many articles that I’ve never published because they are full rants about Hasbro, Disney, Barbie, Toys R Us, and many more companies that produce and sell plastic toys because of my frustration that they can’t keep the issue of ‘safe plastic’ a priority for our children’s health. I’m going to try and remove all the personal conflict I feel about plastic toys aside (I’ve ranted along these lines before) and stick to the facts that CHEJ outlined this week on a new site they’ve launched called Toxic Toys R Us. This is a project run by consumer advocates looking to inform consumers about the sale of PVC-contaminated toys at Toys R Us. The hard facts are that although Toys R Us promised to remove PVC plastic, phthalates, and lead from toys they sell back in 2008 but tests have shown that toys they sell still contain PVC and no amount of labelling from the large toy manufacturers will help parents to understand if they are truly safe.  I cannot wait for their Toxic Toys R Us 2010 Report…I wish it was already out. And it’s only Toys R Us that’s been called out on the issue of PVC and toys.. . and we should be aware that all other big box stores carry the same products, the same toys, with the same set of standards.  Again, what is the problem for a toy made from PVC to land under the tree Christmas morning?  The same problems that I outlined with the fake Christmas tree are true for toys.  I wonder if this is the Christmas that as parents (myself included) wake up and realize the damage plastic has done.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I have very mixed feeling about Christmas and it’s wonderful that I can purge my feelings and perhaps help others who might be confused about different choices we can make this holiday season.



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