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.

Cloudberries Jigsaw Puzzles

IMAGE COURTESY OF: Cloudberries

With jigsaw puzzles seeing a resurgence in popularity in 2020, it’s good to know that there are some sustainable and earth-friendly options out there when you’re looking for a puzzle.

Cloudberries creates fun, design-led jigsaw puzzles especially for adults, offering the kind of cool images you’d want to hang on your wall. From day one, they wanted to put quality, sustainability, and respect into every puzzle they manufactured. With that in mind, they partnered with Eden Reforestation Projects, a non-profit that exists to help reforest some of the world’s most fragile environments. Through their partnership, Cloudberries helps to support not only the restoration of native forests but also helps local communities, provide shelter for wildlife, and helps with climate change.

Their puzzles are made from recycled paper and board and since 2019, their puzzles and boxes are made with sustainably sourced paper. And they continue to work toward more environmentally friendly solutions.

DID YOU KNOW

During the Great Depression in the 1920s, the U.S. saw the greatest jigsaw puzzle craze in its history. People had no money to travel or go out to restaurants, and could lose themselves in pictures of exotic and foreign places. Their popularity surged briefly during WWII due to the scarcity of other forms of entertainment. And did you know that studies show people who do jigsaw puzzles have longer life spans with a diminished chance of developing memory loss. They serve as a kind of meditation tool that can help with cognitive abilities.

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.