By Taraneh Guidry, Founder, Seattle Mommy Marketing and Event Planning Professional

The holidays are upon us, and many of you may be wondering how you can make a difference this year. One of the biggest topics in 2009 was to “be green”. But what does that really mean? Here are a few tips to help you understand why and how you can have a “green” holiday season:

Reduce:

When you hear the word reduce, there are many ways that you can reduce your consumption. Why is this important? If we reduce our consumption and carbon footprint, we are helping to keep supplies up, and thus reducing the costs overall for the manufacturers and consumers. By reducing our carbon footprints, we will help reduce Carbon Monoxide Emissions, and thus help our air pollution. How can I reduce?

Start at home:

Think about your big holiday meal

Try to only buy foods from local farmers. Most foods travel over 1500 miles for each item. Ask yourself, is it really necessary to get food from across the country, or from a foreign country when there are fabulous local foods that are fresher? Not only are you helping your community, but you are being healthier.

Also think about food quantity. Most holiday meals are way too big and we end up throwing away so much food. Buy compostable food containers to send all of your leftovers to guests. This will not only help your “waist”, by not having the high calorie foods so available, but it will also help your waste reduction overall from all of the wasted leftovers that people don’t eat. If you don’t have guests at your holiday meal, either invite someone that doesn’t have family in town, or bring them some leftovers.
Gift giving:

Go Vintage: Most of the holiday toys that we give to our children are great on the first day, but then our kids get bored with them easily. Think of what you used to like as a kid the best? Twister, CandyLand, Monopoly. All of these board games are great for kids these days because they get them off the tube, they don’t use batteries or electricity, and they provide interactive family fun! Check out TTPM board games for some ideas.

Buy a museum membership: Get your family an annual membership for your local zoo, science center or children’s museum. This is a great way for the family to spend time together, get out of the house (away from television), and it lasts all year long! Museums and science centers are great for rainy days when you can’t take the kids to the playground, but you need to get out of the house. Go to Google and type in Science Center Membership and the name of your city to get information on how to buy a membership.

Make something: There are some great ways you can make something that is actually appreciated for the holidays. Some great ideas are to get a nice container and fill it up with homemade cookies. You can find containers from around your house, or if you need to buy something try to get something that they can use that is compostable, recycled and reusable.

Wrapping: During the holidays, Americans produce 25% more waste. This year get reusable wrappers. You can put everyone’s presents in great reusable bags! This will give them two gifts, one inside the other. Also when you are shopping in stores, please bring your own bags. If you want to wrap your gifts in a traditional bag or paper, please choose a recycled option.

There are many other ways that you can be green, both during the holidays and throughout the year. Try to reduce the number of trips you make, shop online, and support local merchants and farmers. Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2010!

Taraneh Guidry is a Seattle area mom of two. She is a marketing and event planning professional that helps clients manage their online marketing, and does eco-consulting for businesses and families.

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