Greening Up the Holidays

The holidays are a time of family, fun and friends. It is also “the season of giving.” Every session of YEA Camp, we show The Story of Stuff, which shows where “stuff” comes from and goes, and why we tend to want so much of it! This is especially an issue during the holiday season, but this holiday can be a time of reducing our carbon footprint! Here are some fun ways to reduce, recycle and reuse this holiday season.

HAVE A “WHITE ELEPHANT PARTY” TO EXCHANGE ITEMS IN LIKE-NEW CONDITION FOR RE-GIFTING

Did someone give you a present that Imagesomeone else would love but you just don’t? Maybe you got a sweater you will never wear? RE-GIFT IT! At your holiday party or Thanksgiving dinner ask your friends and family to bring gifts that are in like-new condition to exchange. You can trade your sweater for some someone’s brand new, but unneeded, earrings and re-gift them to your earring-loving sister!

GET DONATIONS RATHER THAN MORE STUFF!

If you feel like you’d rather support charities than get more items you probably don’t need, there are many websites dedicated to helping people find charities to support and requesting donations instead of gifts from family members. Check out justgive.org, globalgiving.org, and others!

USE FABRIC INSTEAD OF WRAPPING PAPER

Wrapping paper and ribbon simply get thrown away each year but fabric can be used for years to come! You can wrap a present in a beautiful scarf or use a “fat quarter” from your local fabric store. The pre-cut squares of fabric only cost a couple dollars and there are hundreds of fabrics to choose from! Or use paper bags instead of wrapping paper and use a piece of lace as an accent. You can even make your own snowflakes instead of lace! Remember those?  Simply tie them on with a piece of reusable fabric ribbon just like you would would with a disposable ribbon.  Just remember to take the fabric and trimmings back while your gift receiver is enthralled with your amazing gift and reuse them next year!

ImageMAKE YOUR OWN BEAUTIFUL MENORAH OUT OF REUSED ITEMS

Many families are finding that making their own menorah is a fun way to get their kids engaged at Chanukah. And you can make a new one each year without spending a lot or buying brand new items. Even Martha Stewart and Oprah have come up with unique ways to make menorahs. Here are a couple of my favorites as well as some that will make you laugh for sure.

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If you have lots of glitter in your crafting cabinet try this idea by Martha Stewart. (Click photo for directions.)

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If you have little ones, you might like this idea. (Click photo for link.)

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If you like using natural items on your table, you might like this idea using apples from Oprah.

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For those of you who like a challenge check out this idea using corrugated cardboard. (Click photo for instructions).

And for some that will make you laugh check out 25 Hilariously Wrong Menorahs from The Huffington Post online.

Do you have an idea to “Green up the Holidays?” If so, post it on our Facebook or post a pic on our Instagram.

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About YEA Camp

Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp is a summer camp for social change. Our life-changing leadership camp trains 12-17 year-olds to make a difference on a cause they care about. Since 2009, our weeklong overnight camps have helped more than 500 teens from all over the country get active in their community or school on causes like climate change, racism, LGBTQ rights, animal rights, bullying and more. Find out more and register to join us at www.yeacamp.org.
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