HOLIDAYS & CELEBRATIONS

Preparing for holidays and other celebrations often involves a lot of shopping for gifts, decorations, and festive foods. If you are concerned about climate change and sustainability, it’s a good idea to make environmentally responsible choices in what we buy.

Choosing LED holiday lights can save on electricity when compared to incandescent lights. The estimated cost of electricity to light a six-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days would be $10 for Incandescent C-9 lights and 27 cents for LED C-9 lights. Plus, the same LED string could still be in use 40 holidays from now.

Avoiding single use paper items can help save trees. According to the Clean Air Council, “In the U.S., an additional 5 million tons of waste is generated during the holidays. Four million tons of this is wrapping paper and shopping bags.” Cloth gift bags are a nice alternative and are more likely to be reused and re-gifted.  Sending e-greetings instead paper cards can help save trees as well.

Selecting the perfect gift is a common challenge. Sometimes the best things in life aren’t things. Giving someone an experience, like a trip to a National Park or tickets to a play, can have a much more personal impact. Offering a friend a membership to a museum they love or taking a child to a planetarium can create memories that last longer than a scarf or the latest action figure.

Plantable Greeting Cards

IMAGE COURTESY OF: GREEN FIELD PAPER

Creating eco-friendly papers with a purpose, Green Field Paper Company offers three proprietary lines of innovative recycled papers that integrate post-consumer pulp with non-traditional additives such as seeds, hemp, coffee chaff, denim, junk mail, and garlic skins. Each paper is infused with beauty and sustainability.

Earth pigments are used to color their handmade paper and all of their seed paper contains non-GMO, non-invasive seeds. And they don’t use any dyes or bleach in manufacturing their paper. Even the water used to make the 100% recycled handmade paper is reclaimed and recycled back into the next batch. All of their products are made in the USA.

Their line of plantable greeting cards offer a variety of designs for various occasions. Each card is embedded with a colorful array of wildflower seeds. Simply plant the card, water, and watch it grow!

DID YOU KNOW

Wildflowers are native to where they grow, meaning they’re conditioned to thrive there. They require less water and fertilizer, are less prone to disease and are more tolerant to pests. They also provide critical habitat for pollinators, beneficial insects and wildlife, which is important for ecosystem function and pollination. Wildflowers can improve soil health, prevent erosion, improve water quality, increase yields and enhance forage conditions for livestock.

WRAPPILY ECO-FRIENDLY GIFT WRAP

IMAGE COURTESY OF: Wrappily

Wrappily offers a new take on wrapping paper. With the help of neighborhood newspaper presses, they’ve created wonderful, bright patterns and print them on 100% recyclable newsprint. Emboldened with fresh designs on both sides, renewable newsprint is an answer to the millions of tons of trash generated by wrapping paper every year.

In addition to creating earth-friendly wrapping papers and ribbons, the company donates a percentage of its sales to “Miracle on 22nd Street.”  Every year, hundreds of Santa letters written by children in need are mistakenly addressed to an apartment on 22nd Street in Manhattan—and every year a dedicated group of volunteers help mobilize an army of elves to fulfill those letters.

20% of the purchase price of Wrappily’s O Tannenbaum wrapping paper will go to support “Miracle on 22nd Street’s” work of connecting families in need with real-life elves.

You can make one small change that will make a big difference: Gift happily with Wrappily!

DID YOU KNOW

Most confetti and glitter is made of plastic (polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), respectively) that has been metalized. The plastic film from which most glitter is made takes about 1,000 years to completely biodegrade on Earth. That’s nothing to celebrate.

ADOPT AN ACRE® FROM THE NATURE CONSERVANCY

IMAGE COURTESY OF: THE NATURE CONSERVANCY

You can be the one to help ensure that nature’s most vulnerable lands and waters are given the care, the love and the protection that they need.

When you Adopt an Acre®, your symbolic gift will help to protect natural places you love. With your help, we can ensure that amazing natural treasures get the urgent protection and restoration that is critical to their survival.

Since the Adopt an Acre® program began in 1991, the Conservancy has protected over 600,000 acres of vital landscapes around the world. The environmental impact has been positive and far reaching.

An acre of land in a place close to a friend’s heart is a wonderful gift, both to the friend and to the earth.

DID YOU KNOW

Large blocks of undeveloped natural land are important because they typically contain a diversity of habitat types that can support a greater diversity of species and larger populations that are more likely than small populations to persist over time. In the face of ongoing and future climate change, the resilience that comes with large blocks of undeveloped habitat will be essential as we strive to maintain healthy and diverse wildlife populations in the coming decades.

A GIFT OF SEEDS FROM SEED SAVERS EXCHANGE

IMAGE COURTESY OF: SEED SAVERS EXCHANGE

Since 1975, Seed Savers Exchange has protected the biodiversity of our food system—and our planet—by preserving rare, heirloom, and open-pollinated varieties of seeds in our seed bank at Heritage Farm and encouraging gardeners and farmers worldwide to grow, harvest, and share heirloom seeds as well as recount the inspirational stories behind them.

It was her own children’s future that inspired Diane Ott Whealy to co-found Seed Savers Exchange with heirloom seeds for treasured tomato and flower varieties lovingly brought to Iowa by her Bavarian great-grandparents in the 1870s.

Word about the organization spread quickly, and before long a small group of concerned gardeners began saving and swapping their own rare, heirloom varieties and donating seeds to our collection, which would soon become the center of a growing movement. These seeds and their stories—passed from generation to generation—may well have been lost if not for the foresight of these visionary gardeners and their singular dedication to preserving biodiversity in the face of changing farming and gardening practices.

Today, with 13,000 members and 20,000 plant varieties, Seed Savers Exchange makes its home on 890 scenic acres in Winneshiek County, Iowa, at Heritage Farm.

A gift of seeds is a thoughtful way of spreading hope and caring for the Earth.

DID YOU KNOW

Planting a Climate Victory Garden using regenerative practices can help sequester carbon out of the atmosphere and back into the soil.

ECO FRIENDLY PAPER PARTY DECORATIONS

IMAGE COURTESY OF: AMAZON

Balloons float away from our parties and celebrations and often end up in the wild where birds and other animals can mistake them for food, or can get entangled in their strings. There are some beautiful alternatives to balloons that are earth and animal friendly and can make your party just as festive. A set of eco friendly paper decorations made from 100% FSC certified paper (and plastic free!) includes fans, pom poms, garlands, honeycombs, tassels and ribbons and are available in a selection of color themes.

DID YOU KNOW

Balloons float away from our parties and celebrations and often end up in the wild where birds and other animals can mistake them for food, or can get entangled in their strings. There are some beautiful alternatives to balloons that are earth and animal friendly and can make your party just as festive. A set of eco friendly paper decorations made from 100% FSC certified paper (and plastic free!) includes fans, pom poms, garlands, honeycombs, tassels and ribbons and are available in a selection of color themes.

BIODEGRADABLE CONFETTI

IMAGE COURTESY OF: THE CONFETTI BAR

Festive events and celebrations often involve confetti. Weddings have that magic moment where confetti is thrown at the newlyweds. Unfortunately, many confettis—especially shiney ones—can be made out of microplastics, mylar, or metal. These elements can be harmful to the environment as they can wash away into storm drains and end up in local water sources where they can damage aquatic life. Rice has been used as a substitute for years, but rice is slippery, and birds can choke on it.  (And we don’t want that!)

Fortunately, there are some wonderful alternatives available today. The Confetti Bar offers three different biodegradable styles:

Solufetti™ is made from a mix of water-soluble bits, mica, and/or herbs. The bits are made from blown cornstarch, a water-soluble, non-toxic, and biodegradable material that breaks down quickly when exposed to moisture. The dyes to make the colors are similar to food coloring, yet also biodegradable and non-toxic.

FloralfettiComprised of all-natural freeze-dried flower petals, herbs, and/or mica flakes. Since the petals are freeze-dried they retain their rich colors, and won’t wilt, stain, or slip. A favorite for weddings.

SproutfettiMade from a compostable paper that has wildflower seeds embedded in the paper. It’s literally confetti that, if planted, grows! The paper is sourced from a company that is approved by the CFIA and the USDA for planting across many countries, and each batch of their seeds is tested to ensure that they free of noxious weeds and invasive species. (There may be some restrictions exporting this style mix to certain countries.)

Other options can be found Amazon and on Etsy. And if you have the time, some dried leaves and a hole punch, you can make your own beautiful confetti for your special occasion.

Adopt an Elephant from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

IMAGE COURTESY OF: THE SHELDRICK TRUST

Born from one family’s passion for Kenya and its wilderness, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was established more than 40 years ago and is best known for its Orphans’ Project, the first and most successful elephant orphan rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. The Sheldrick Trust is a pioneering conservation organization, dedicated to the protection of wildlife and the preservation of habitats in East Africa.

Their web site offers many elephants from which to choose. And your recipient will receive a certificate and have the ability to follow their story online. By adopting an elephant, you can help support this wonderful organization while sharing the compassion and beauty of caring for animals. Plus, there is no plastic involved and no need to wrap your elephant, wasting single-use wrapping paper.

DID YOU KNOW

You can also adopt a giraffe, a lion, a manatee, a narwhal, a blue whale, an Emperor Penguin, and many other animals.