4 GOING GREEN | Sunday, November 29, 2009 commercialappeal.com
Karen Pulfer Focht
Dough ornaments are
environmentally friendly and
a fun family project.
Don’t discard holidays
as season of throwaways
By Suzanne Thompson Not every decision, however, will be
Special to Going Green easy.
Take the Great Christmas Tree
WHEN PREPARING HOLIDAY Debate.
Though many environmentalists
LISTS THIS YEAR, don’t forget the advocate the use of a fresh cut or live
“3 R’s” of green living — reduce, tree, there are arguments for artificial
reuse and recycle. Christmas tree farms have
Simple Earth-friendly sustainability built into their business
models — most plant one to three trees
alternatives when decorating and for every one cut — and are continually
entertaining not only are a gift to replanting, so generally purchasing one
from a tree stand is better than using an
the environment, they can be less artificial one.
expensive too. Many artificial trees are made from
The Commercial Appeal Sunday, November 29, 2009 | GOING GREEN 5
polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which,
incinerated, emit dioxins and other
At the same time, if you already own
an artificial tree, its environmental
impact can be reduced by using it for as
long as possible.
The nonprofit American Christmas
Tree Association conducted a study that
showed artificial trees are better for the
environment when used over a 10-year
Nancy Ream, chairman of the Sierra
Club, Chickasaw Group, recommends
purchasing a live tree.
“After Christmas, plant it in your
backyard. You’ll create a forest in your
yard,” she said.
No space in your yard for another
tree? Consider donating it to the
grounds of a nursing home, where the
residents can enjoy its growth.
Large rosemary plants can also be
substituted for a traditional Christmas
tree, Ream said. Karen Pulfer Focht
Debbie Thornton, one of the Rather than buy ornaments, Debbie
decorators in the 2009 Vesta Home Crawford of Pugh’s Flowers makes
Show, said one of her clients used them out of dough as one of her ways
poinsettias as a substitute. to go green for the holidays.
“She stacked them into the pyramid-
shape of a Christmas tree. Each person
took a plant home at the end of the officer for Pugh’s Flowers, said her
holiday celebration,” Thornton said. family has a history of crafting. “Dough
The options are endless in choosing ornaments can be shaped, baked and
eco-friendly Christmas ornaments. painted for a beautiful handmade look
Paper snowflakes and handmade with memories for years to come,”
ornaments not only add to the beauty of Crawford said.
the tree, but also create memories as The recipe for dough ornaments is
family members get together to make two cups of flour, two cups of salt and
them. Felt, glitter and glue can be used one cup of water. Bake at 275 degrees
to design decorations that are only for about an hour. Baking takes less
limited by imagination. time if the dough is rolled very thin.
Debbie Crawford, sales and marketing Ream said her mother grew up on a
6 GOING GREEN | Sunday, November 29, 2009 commercialappeal.com
Greg Campbell/Associated Press files
Deborah King (left) trims a Christmas tree base as brother Jerry drags another
tree from the rows at Santa’s Choice Christmas Tree Farm in Florence, Miss.
farm and was dedicated to There are some people for whom
environmentally friendly holiday nothing but wrapping paper will do.
celebrations. Her family strung garlands Many places sell wrapping paper made
of popcorn and cranberries, which the of recycled materials.
family shared with wild birds after the Another alternative to wrapping
holidays. paper is to use a beautiful bolt of cloth
“My mother didn’t believe in buying to wrap presents, or put them in
gift tags, so we took Christmas cards baskets. Baskets are attractive when
we received from the year before and presenting the gift, and can be used
cut them into gift tags,” Ream said. around the house when empty.
“She also used plain paper — back then Christmas cards can be reused or
it came from the butcher — and we handmade, and there are many
decorated it with potato prints. That companies that sell cards made from
was our wrapping paper.” recycled material and printed with
Keep in mind, not every gift needs to vegetable-based inks.
be wrapped. For a bottle of wine, a bow Green Charity cards are made from
is plenty. Large gifts like bicycles, don’t stock manufactured from 80 percent
need to be wrapped and a bow or nice recovered fiber (10 percent packaging
gift tag is sufficient. waste, 10 percent white waste and 60
The Commercial Appeal Sunday, November 29, 2009 | GOING GREEN 7
percent de-inked waste). The If not
other 20 percent is made of already, try
material from sustainably energy-
managed forests and is efficient
manufactured without chlorine LED holiday
bleaches. Go to lights.
greencharitycards.com for more They’ll
Many people struggle to get your night.
the perfect decorations for their
holiday feast, but the focal point
doesn’t have to be intricate or
artificial. “Table centerpieces 10 easy steps
can be created from fruit and We checked some of our favorite Web sites,
pine cones,” Thornton said. and found 10 things you can do to have a greener
Putting a single flower stem in
1. Use energy-efficient outdoor LED holiday
a champagne or shot glass and lights. They consume less power and are brighter.
placing one at each person’s planetgreen.discovery.com
place setting provides a fragrant 2. Make environmentally conscious choices
way to enjoy the meal, and a nice when buying toys. Discover what toys contain
little treat to take home when harmful chemicals, at healthytoys.org.
the party is over, Crawford said. 3. Avoid overnight shipping. Ground
Choosing natural holiday décor transportation, instead of rush delivery, uses less
is as easy as taking a walk through fossil fuel and produces less pollution – and it’s
the backyard, Ream said. She cheaper, too. www.thedailygreen.com
gathers red maple leaves and the 4. Use organic and local foods for your holiday
vibrant yellow leaves of gingko feasts. Not only do you support farmers who grow
trees to use later in centerpieces sustainable meat and produce, the food tastes
and on the mantle. She puts the better. sierraclub.org
leaves in baggies and puts a book 5. Avoid disposable utensils and dishes when
on top of them. When the entertaining. buynhelp.com
moisture has evaporated, the 6. Use soy-based or beeswax candles instead
of ones made of paraffin, a petroleum-based
leaves will be sturdier, and can be product. www.greenliving tips.com
used to accentuate greenery
7. Get creative and make your own gift wrap.
draped around the house. Use the Sunday comics, or decorate grocery store
Holly and other natural bags. planetgreen.discovery.com
greenery can be used to decorate 8. Save paper and postage by sending an e-
and is easy to find. card. support.nature.org
The lower boughs of 9. Use a timer for outside lighting decorations
Christmas trees can be trimmed – and save electricity. greenlivingtips.com
off and displayed. 10. Keep disposable batteries out of landfills.
When it comes to lighting, go With any present that uses batteries, give
with solar lights or light- rechargeable batteries and a charger.
emitting diode (LED) lights. greenlivingtips.com