How to Green Up Every Celebration

by financialmom

in Green, Holidays, Money

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Yes, I know it’s the Red Holiday coming up this weekend.  Thought the green and purple hearts were pretty cool though . . .

This guest post is by Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson, mother and daughter and co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, which is available at .

Start with these tips and you’ll be on your way to celebrating in ways that are better for the planet and people too. An added bonus? You’re likely save a bunch of cash as well:


Take advantage of the new year to get a calendar and fill in the dates for every event you think you’ll celebrate this year. Include birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, weddings, graduations, family reunions, even office parties, then add every holiday you celebrate in any way big or small.

Now make a list of items you’ll need, i.e. tableware, decor, gifts, food etc.  Check off what you already own. Then list what you need to beg, borrow, exchange or purchase.  Print out the list (on recycled paper of course) or put it in your phone, PDA or calendar you carry with you.

When you’re at the thrift store or a garage sale, or see a great local sale, check the item off your list. Or, if you’re into setting up an exchange, one month before the event on your calendar, add in a date for a neighborhood get together to trade costumes, decor, plates or anything else you come up with.

Shop Local and Handmade

Shipping long distances is a no-no when you’re trying to live in a more eco-friendly way. So it’s always preferable to seek out items you’re going to buy locally.   If you’ve planned ahead (see above), then buying organic berries in the summer from your local farmer’s market and freezing them for the blueberry pancakes you’ll make your love on Valentine’s Day makes the process easy and fun.

Throw No Waste Celebrations

No waste doesn’t mean no trash (unfortunately). It means that everything purchased around a celebration can be recycled, composted or reused. Planning ahead (see above again!) helps a lot.

Here are a few ideas to make it easier still:

  • Be sure to have labeled bins available.
  • Ask guests to bring unwrapped gifts, then hide them (the gifts, not the guests) and have the recipient hunt for them
  • Collect glass jars, decorate them if you like and have them available for guests to take home leftovers
  • Resist purchasing throw away decor–plates, cups, tablecloths etc.–no matter how cute or how well they match your theme

Make Gifts and Decor

Make gifts and decor from items you already own, can collect, trade with friends or re-purpose. Some people consider themselves crafty and some don’t. If you’re in the latter category, it’s not a crime, but how about giving it a try in 2010?

By planning ahead (see above – ok, by now you know what we’re referring to), you’ll have plenty of time to assemble the needed items, instructions or even take a class. This could be the year to learn to take old sweaters and turn them into gifts by learning how to needle felt. Or make an eco-friendly holiday tree, recycled jewelry or cook up green tomato preserves!

There are instructions for anything you’d like to craft online. Instructables and Craftster will get you started, but simply by typing in what you want to make plus the word, “instructions,” you’ll be on the road to DIY stardom.Also, before throwing anything away, ask yourself whether it can be turned into a gift or decor item. Once you start looking at “trash” this way, you’ll be amazed how often the answer will be, “Yes!”

Minimize Energy Waste

Think about how to minimize energy waste before, during and after events. Plan parties during the day to minimize need for heat (depending on where you live) and lights.   Keep the temperature down if you’re celebrating in the winter with masses of people. Body heat may suffice.   In summer, try using a solar oven for cooking instead of heating up the kitchen.

Top Picks for Celebrating Green All Year

New Profile Pic 2599R How to Green Up Every CelebrationPamela Otten is CEO of Pamela Otten LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. She loves to work with women business owners and entrepreneurs, and women in transition due to job change, death, or divorce. Pamela will help you set and reach your financial goals, educate you to understand your investments, and teach you how to do more charitable giving. Pamela is a Qualified Kingdom Advisor (, trained and committed to integrating biblical principles with her investment advice.

cc smallest How to Green Up Every CelebrationPhoto Credit – ladydragonflycc

Financial Planning, Investment Advice, and Investment Management provided through Pamela Otten LLC, Registered Investment Advisor.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only, and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, please consult your financial advisor prior to investing.

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