For the past few years we’ve been trying to make our holidays a little more “green”. Here are some of the things we are doing in our family – and I hope you’ll share with us your tips for an eco Christmas too.
1) SEND ELECTRONIC CARDS INSTEAD OF PAPER: I started doing this a few years ago when I discovered Paperless Post. You can customize amazing designs with everything from family portraits to personalized verses and fonts. It proves you don’t have to compromise on sending lovely greetings by going online. Plus you save the carbon footprint of mailing paper cards.
2) THINK OUTSIDE THE TREE: Perhaps it’s the tree hugger in me, but the thought of chopping one down so it can stand in the corner of my living room for a few weeks drying out, seems wasteful. And don’t get me started on the artificial ones… There are so many interesting options that can be just as much fun for the family to decorate. I love this collection of found sticks (pictured right). It’s beautiful, unique, and something fun and memorable for the children to create. Think of the possibilities when every year they can come up with a new tree.
3) GET CREATIVE WITH WRAPPING: Use Santa sacs or recycled paper. Up-cycle greeting cards to use as gift tags. Use your children’s artwork as gift wrap. The more personal your wrapping, the more memorable the gift.
4) CONNECT WITH NATURE: In our family we have a tradition of a pre-Christmas picnic, where we can enjoy time outside together in a peaceful setting before the inevitable madness and overindulgence of Christmas Day. We also like to plant something as a way of giving back to the earth, and to help foster values of sustainability with the kids.
5) BUY LESS STUFF: To me, the best gifts are ones that are either hand-made or that offer an “experience” instead of a thing. Tickets to a show, a spa voucher or a special hand-made item can create a beautiful memory, and to me that’s more valuable than something that is mass produced. For those on your list that have everything, think of alternatives, like Oxfam’s unwrapped gifts that help fight poverty worldwide.
SHARE AND WIN: Tell us in the comments below how you and your family try to celebrate a greener Christmas and you can WIN A $100 GIFT VOUCHER and a copy of our eco book “Santa Claus is Green” which includes fun tips and ideas on how kids and families can celebrate a merry green holiday, and over 20 stickers.
*entrants must be a resident of Australia. Winner will be announced and contacted via email on Dec. 15
I’m visiting my family at home in Canada at the moment, and whenever I make it over to this side of the world I love to investigate new kids’ products on the market, especially skincare. Canada has a hotlist of chemicals banned in personal care products to keep the cosmetic industry aware of new substances the health department considers inappropriate for cosmetic use. On the list are toxins such as sulfates, and preservatives such as formaldehyde that pose enough of a risk that products with these ingredients are either prohibited from being sold, or require hazard labeling.
When you compare this to the personal care industry standards in Australia, it’s interesting to note that there is no guide for manufacturers with regard to what cannot be used in products in Australia. As a parent and consumer, I find this alarming. It’s one of the reasons I started Itty Bitty Greenie, and it’s also why I try to keep up to date with the latest international research on chemicals in personal care products – especially those formulated for children.
I know I’m not alone in my concern for children’s exposure to toxins, and recently one of our suppliers, WotNot, started The Clean Bum Crusade calling for legislation to mandate that all ingredient information be displayed on cosmetic and personal care packaging in Australia, and an immediate ban on those chemicals already banned in other countries until an assessment can be done.
The crusade aims to gain enough support to change the regulations surrounding the manufacture of baby skincare products in Australia. If you pledge your support online, you also have a chance to win one of 2000 WotNot baby wipes travel cases.
In the meantime, Itty Bitty Greenie will continue our efforts to help parents make informed choices about their skincare choices for children by sharing our research, and also by listing all ingredients used in the skincare products we offer in our online shop.
I’m all for supporting educational initiatives that get the itty bitties in our life thinking about ways to protect the environment, so when I was approached by Disney Junior about reviewing their latest Handy Manny DVD that focuses on ways families can “go green”, I thought it was an interesting idea.
After all, I do have a tool and building-obsessed three-year-old at home who I knew would delight in taking up the task with me.
For those who may not know this character, Handy Manny is kind of like the Spanish-speaking cousin of Bob the Builder, or perhaps a relation of Dora the Explorer – with adventures focused on building and fixing things. He has a cast of talking tools that help him with the handyman jobs he sets out to do in each episode. (We like Stretch, the talking tape measure, the best).
This “go green” themed DVD has six episodes, each with its own inspiring story about facing challenges associated with preserving nature and building new things with eco alternatives.
Manny and his team learn about protecting wildlife and saving baby turtles, and discover the advantages of solar power and ways to conserve energy, among other things.
Aidan definitely loves the episode about saving the baby turtles the best, but I was delighted that he scored really well at the “Livin la Vida Verde” bonus feature game as well, which involves a quiz on recycling and living green. I guess he really has picked up some useful green living information along the way.
Itty Bitty Greenie is delighted to be giving away two copies of the Handy Manny: Manny’s Green Team DVD. To enter, just comment below on how you and your family have tried to live green lately. Whether its installing eco light bulbs or solar power, growing your own veggies or switching to green cleaners, we’d love to hear your tips!
Winners will be announced on June 17.