Tag Archives | supporting local

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!

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Supporting Local Is Vital To Our Future

I’m noticing an exciting movement brewing and it really became apparent watching the social media mediums talking about Earth Day this year. There’s been a big shift to simplify purchases and reduce our insatiable appetite as consumers. The movement to drastically reduce what we are spending combined with saving our money for quality and locally produced items will be a huge difference in the North America economy in 2010. When you are shopping – are you asking where things are made?  Is this influencing your decision?

Many parents are putting a big focus on re-using what they already have. If you resist the urge to go out and purchase items you think are needed – you’ll always be surprised what you can make do with at home. I found it so interesting reading moms posting on Twitter wondering why to celebrate Earth Day this year they needed to go out and purchase a gift for the planet? A great question and hopefully not the message parents were getting from the media this Earth Day. Even though I’m a proud owner of a green business, I’m hoping it was the message for families to re-connect with nature and eco-activities that made Earth Day celebrations truly special this year. When talking about North America’s problem with over-consumption – even greener options – would not have been the true message of Earth Day this year.

Back to the topic of supporting local.  For years we’ve now listened to the words ‘reducing your footprint’ ‘smaller footprint’ and this no longer only means recycling.  To me, these words truly mean better decisions, asking questions, and supporting local whenever possible; from the food we eat, to the everyday items we use.  I have stopped saying “but everything is made in China!” Why?  Because it’s simply not true.  We simply gravitate to all the choices from China because they are the cheapest.  When I am buying something that is made overseas – it’s not because I can’t find it….it’s because I want that low price. The only thing that will help this problem is supply and demand. The more people that join together to support our local businesses – the cost for these quality items will go down. You can ask Europeans what the cost is for their lovely wooden toys.  It’s not what we pay here because these items that are known for quality and safety, need to be transported which costs money. I find it impossible to believe we can’t find the same things here and support a local farmer or artisan that is gifted with quality craftsmanship, etc.

It’s sad to think that our economic struggles in North America could be lessoned if we followed what all other countries do – support our own manufacturers. Network within your own group of friends or social media forums and ask who around you can sew, make quality items from wood, or where you can purchase food locally. Following a path of purchasing less and reusing what we have, then following a blueprint as a consumer of quality, sustainable, locally made items that can be recycled or are made from recycled materials will change the way we shop this year. I’m excited for Earth Day 2011 because  I think these concepts will truly be understood and followed by parents.

Please share your actions that help make everyday decisions more earth friendly. Here are a few fun ways to talk to children about reusing household items and reducing purchases that might not be required. Examples include:

Making home made play dough. Did you know that traditional play dough containers are not recyclable and the quality of the play dough cannot compare (or last as long) as the home made version?

Don’t throw away your broken crayons – save them for a rainy day project of melting them down and making new crayons to use.

Understanding that children simply don’t need buckets of new clothing that is made overseas, printed with traditional inks and materials. It honestly feels better to purchase less, spend more, and support a local “made in North America’ clothing store.

Similar Articles:

Earth Day 2010 ~ How Will You Celebrate

Mommy Eco-Tee

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Clementine Art – Naturally Artistic

A New Spin On A Classic Toy – Building Blocks

** Badger sunscreen contest note **  The winner Jen has been contacted and the contest is closed.  Thanks to everyone that completed the referral form or posted a comment to the Mommy Footprint fan page!

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Earth Day 2010 ~ How Will You Celebrate

Earth Day is coming and I’ve been comparing this year’s Earth Day buzz to Christmas. It might even be busier in our household than any December I can remember – the emphasis on April 22nd is apparent in every corner of the community this year.

Also helping keep me on my toes, I was approached to guest write for an amazing online newsletter called Savvymom with a series of 2 articles on greener options for families. The article titles are Eco Fun: Storm Drain Marking and Tips to Improve Your Home’s Health. Both of these articles have some great ideas for both parents and children wanting to make a difference in their community and home. One thing I’ve learned with writing at Mommy Footprint is any steps you make to help the environment will reward you with improving your family’s health. If you are wanting to talk to your children about Earth Day and why it’s important, but don’t have time for any big projects, simply make a change in your home and explain that you are helping the Earth and helping improve the quality of your family’s environment. Big or small changes – they all matter and are important.

I have a small role in helping plan a Earth Day Fair this year and am feeling very inspired about community and family involvement. To find an Earth Day event in your neighbourhood, click on the link at Earth Day 2010 (US zip codes only). For people in Canada click on the Earth Day Canada site for events.

My advice for parents wanting to participate or encourage their children this April 22nd is pick something you all find inspiring. If you have wrapped your mind around trying to reduce the amount of toxic materials in your life, discussing with family this month is a great start. I found this puzzle today from the artists at Just Hatched in the US that really celebrate Earth Day everyday with their commitment to using more sustainable materials to create toys. I wanted to share an example of something so simple. and earthy. and inspiring. Surrounding our lives with better choices for the environment the other 374 days of the year is also a great pledge to make. Keeping your family footprint lighter with supporting local, sustainable choices, made with natural materials just feels so good!

Have fun planning your special mark with your family this Earth Day.

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