Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans throw away 1 million extra tons of garbage each week, including holiday wrapping and packaging. What’s more, Americans use more electricity on holiday lights than some countries use in an entire year. Here are five ways to have an eco-friendly holiday to reduce your environmental footprint.
Get creative with wrapping gifts. Most mass-produced wrapping paper is not recyclable because of the shiny coatings, foils and colors. As a result, it ends up in landfills. Instead, wrap papers in old maps, the comics section of the newspaper, or children’s art work. Or, use a scarf, an attractive dishtowel, bandana, or a reusable shopping bag.
Use energy-saving holiday LED lights. Decorate your house with holiday LED lights that use 90 percent less energy than conventional lights, while saving your family up to $50 on your energy bill during the holiday season.
Shop local and organic for your holiday feast. Support local farmers who ranch and farm sustainably. Not only does local, organic food taste better, but you’ll also be doing your part to support the community and the planet.
Rethink the Christmas tree. Get a pesticide-free tree. Some growers use 40 different chemicals and chemical colorants. Be sure to recycle after the holiday season. (Each year, 10 million Christmas trees end up in the landfill.) Some cities offer programs that turn your tree into mulch or wood chips. An even more eco-friendly option is to buy a live tree and plant it in your yard, or a nearby park, after the holidays.
Gift consciously. Reduce your consumption impact when giving holiday gifts. Do-it-yourself gifts such as a plate of homemade candy, crafty picture frames with photos, homemade vanilla extract or lavender bath salts are fun to make and receive. The gift of an experience is also a zero waste option—tickets to a ball game, play or concert, a museum membership, trip to the zoo or dinner out.
The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe started in ancient Greece, during the festival of Saturnalia and later in marriage ceremonies because of the plant’s association with fertility. During the Roman era, enemies at war would reconcile their differences under mistletoe, which represented peace.
Tis the season for office holiday parties, which can be fun and festive, if everyone is on their best behavior, but disastrous when too many people let loose. Unfortunately, the latter happens far too often. Here are some simple etiquette rules to keep your job and reputation intact.
Don’t skip it. Unless you already have other plans that night that you absolutely cannot miss or change, show up. It’s good for your career to show your face.
Don’t be the first to leave. Of course, someone must be the first to leave. But for the same reason you shouldn’t skip the holiday party, you should avoid being the first to say good night.
Dress appropriately. The party may not take place during traditional work hours, but that doesn’t mean you should dress like you’re going to a nightclub. Generally, women shouldn’t wear anything too short, too tight, too low-cut or too anything. Men, if you normally wear a suit to work, don’t show up to the office party in jeans and a t-shirt.
Prepare your spouse or guest. Let your spouse or plus-one know about appropriate dress and topics of conversation to avoid. His or her behavior reflects on you.
Be sure to mingle. Take the time to schmooze with people you know and don’t know. Don’t spend your time texting or tweeting.
Avoid shop talk. Even if the holiday party is at the office this year, don’t drone on about work. It’s a party. Lighten up. Save your project updates for the Monday meeting.
Watch your body language. Appearing bored, or like you’d rather be somewhere else, is just as bad as not showing up. Don’t frown, slouch, cross your arms or yawn.
Be sure to eat. Sometimes employees skip the food and head straight to the bar.
Avoid gossip. When you speak to colleagues, keep the conversation upbeat and positive. Complaining about your boss, or the company will bring the mood down.
Don’t over imbibe. This is an important rule, but many people fail to follow it. It’s fine to enjoy a spirited beverage, but don’t overdo it. Set a limit for yourself before the party, and stick to it.
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