Green toys for the holidaysLike it or not, it's that time of year, the time when retailers shove the "holiday shopping season" down all of our throats with incessant ads and special doorbuster deals. I love Christmas (or I used to before it started November 1st) but I'm not all that into the thrill of buying stuff on sale. I've always enjoyed shopping for my daughter, but I've gotten increasingly depressed about the fact that everything available for kids at big box retailers, from clothes to toys, is made in China under less-than-desirable conditions.
So I got Barbara-Streisand's-version-of-Jingle-Bells-level jazzed when I found out about Green Toys, a California company that makes eco-friendly toys out of recycled plastic right here in America. They've got all the big items little kids love (trucks, tool sets, tea sets, and more) at reasonable prices. A few of these items cost significantly more than the price you'd pay at a big box retailer for non-recycled, foreign-made products, but many cost just about
- Babble.com | Green – Fri, Dec 2, 2011 4:18 PM EST
Green toys for the holidaysLike it or not, it's that time of year, the time when retailers shove the "holiday shopping season" down all of our throats with incessant ads and special doorbuster deals. I love Christmas (or I used to before it started November 1st) but I'm not all that into the thrill of buying stuff on sale. I've always enjoyed shopping for my daughter, but I've gotten increasingly depressed about the fact that everything available for kids at big box retailers, from clothes to toys, is made in China under less-than-desirable conditions.Read More »from I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas: 7 Eco-Friendly Toys for the Kids
By Trystan L. Bass
Christmas parties are filling the calendar, and New Year celebrations are soon to follow. You want the house to sparkle for your family and guests.
Can you evoke a Norman Rockwell holiday while also playing nice with Mother Earth? You bet.
The first stop for eco-friendly winter décor might be your front yard (or a local garden supply store). As the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture notes, evergreens come in a wide variety of colors. Gather up pine, cedar, spruce, fir, holly, boxwood, nandina, aucuba, and magnolia leaves and boughs. These make beautiful wreaths, swags, and centerpieces for use inside the house as well as outside.
Fruits and vegetables are lovely, old-fashioned decorations on tables and trees. Care2 has instructions for easy, inexpensive candleholders made of oranges studded with cloves. These will look pretty and smell very Christmasy.
The same page also has tips for stringing cranberry garlands and making pineconeRead More »from Deck the Halls Greenly
By Lori Bongiorno
Whether you're hosting or on the guest list, chances are you'll be shopping for wine and beer this holiday season. Great taste and sustainability are not mutually exclusive.
Here are some suggestions for finding the most planet-friendly options.
- Drink beer from local microbreweries to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used for shipping and support nearby businesses. Read the BeerAdvocate's directory for ratings of breweries, beer stores, and related establishments in your neighborhood
- Try organic beer. The barley used to brew organic beer is grown without synthetic pesticides, but there's no guarantee that the hops (a perennial plant that adds bitterness and aroma) will be grown organically. That's because the USDA allows producers to use conventionally grown hops if they can't find organic versions. Just a few brands to look for: Peak Organic Brewing Company, Butte Creek Brewing, and Bison Brewery.
- The greenest thing you can do is make
- The Conscious Consumer | Green – Fri, Dec 2, 2011 2:42 PM EST
Custom-decorated cloth napkinsBy Lori Bongiorno
Using cloth napkins instead of paper is a great way to cut down on waste. The laundry can pile up, though, for a family that uses them at every meal. That's why I was thrilled when I unwrapped my friend Jill Bouratoglou's creative homemade gift.
Inside was a set of cloth napkins with a clever eco-friendly twist. A different image was screen-printed on each napkin. She told everyone in my family to choose the napkin with our favorite design and use it at every meal.
Now that we've all been "assigned" a napkin, I'm told I don't have to wash them after each use. That's the best part, of course (think about it: you don't wash a hand towel after every single use either). Although, it doesn't hurt that the napkins look like they were purchased in a stylish boutique.
Jill assures me that these are easy to make. (I'm still impressed.)
Here are directions she adapted from several sources:
- Gather the following supplies: White cotton napkins, nontoxic fabric
Girl with holiday lights, Getty ImagesBy Lori Bongiorno
There's a lot of talk about upgrading to LED Christmas lights. So what should you do with your old incandescent lights? It's not likely that curbside recycling will take them, but that doesn't mean they're destined for the landfill. Check to see if there's going to be an event in your local community over the holidays.
Otherwise, take advantage of HolidayLEDs' free recycling program. You do have to be willing to pay postage, though, since it's a mail-in program. Still, it's a great option for those who would rather not throw their old holiday lights in the trash. An added benefit: The company will send you a coupon for a 25% discount off LED lights sold on its website (a particularly appealing prospect for those who haven't made the upgrade yet).
Earth911 has helpful suggestions for those who would rather donate or reuse decorative lights.
If you're in the market to buy LED Christmas lights, look for strings that have the Energy Star stamp ofRead More »from Recycle Your Old Holiday Lights
- Mother Nature Network (mnn.com) | At Home – Thu, Dec 1, 2011 1:52 PM EST
by Starre Vartan, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from How to Survive (and Maybe Even Enjoy) This Year's Holiday Parties
A rare few of us enjoy holiday parties; the rest of us suffer through them in embarrassment, discomfort and sometimes outright misery. But this is the one time of year it's almost impossible to duck out of a celebration, and the guilt you might feel for missing yet another shindig is nothing compared to the negative effect it could have on your career, family, or neighborhood relations if you skip it. Whether it's the office Christmas party or the neighborhood get-together and tree-lighting, you should show up. Here's how to make it through - and maybe even enjoy yourself.
Go with a plan: Different parties have different priorities, so outlining those before you go can reduce the pain and suffering (both existential and hangover-related). Having a specific goal or set of tasks to get through will also keep you on track and less likely to be standing around stuffing your face with chips and dip out of nervousness.
Office party: To prevent
Author Jasia Steinmetz shares easy tips on how to be a locavore this holiday seasonRead More »from Tips for Becoming a Locavore
For some, locavorism is a fad. But restaurants are continuing to adopt farm-to-table practices and new farmers markets seem to be popping up every weekend, so it doesn't seem as though the trend is going away anytime soon. That can be a good thing, and the basic tenets of locavorism are simple: Eat local, shop local, and grow your own food.
Click here for the 10 Tips for Becoming a Locavore Slideshow
"Eating locally can be simple," notes Jasia Steinmetz, author of the recently released Eat Local: Simple Steps to Enjoy Real, Healthy and Affordable Food. "Every time you can buy something that supports your local community and local food system, it'll have a big impact."
Click here to see How Healthy Your Kids' 'Healthy' Snacks Are
Locavores like Steinmetz believe buying local creates a sense of community, one between farmer and consumer, which has long been lost. Many restaurants tout the "farm-to-table" movement as a return to our roots, and some writers (like the influential Michael
Read More »from 20 Unusual Uses for Lemon Juice
By Stephanie Rogers
Juicy, aromatic and highly acidic, lemons bring out the flavor in sweet and savory foods but they nearly always play a supporting role in the kitchen. Stop relegating them to the rim of your glass and give these winter citrus fruits their due - because they're serious cleaning and freshening powerhouses. These 20 unusual uses for lemon juice will make your home look and smell fresh, brighten your laundry, and improve your hair, nails and skin. Quick tip: roll a fresh lemon under your palm on the countertop to soften it up for easier juicing.
Nails looking dull and yellowed after a long period covered in dark polish? Just squeeze a lemon into a small dish, clean your nails and soak them in the lemon juice for a minute or two. Some women claim that this treatment will also make nails stronger, particularly when adding a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the dish.
Keep cut fruit and vegetables like apples, pears, avocados and
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