Happy Holidays! There are many ways to ‘go green’ during the holidays and you can take it as far as your want to. There are a few things I’ve done this year to be environmentally conscious while maintaining holiday cheer and they’re all below. I’m always interested in learning about other ways, so feel free to share what you’ve done to be a holiday green bean!

1. Easy on the lights there tiger. Last Monday my friends and I drove down to 85th street & 9th ave in Brooklyn and saw a few blocks of families throw down their biggest and brightest of lights. (I mean look at that photo!) It was a great and fun experience that adds to the holiday spirit, although it was not very environmentally friendly. Here are some places that sell LED holiday lights; whether you are looking to blow a fuse or just want to add some holiday enchantment to your home you can now do so in a greener way: Environmental Lights, Target, and  Christmas Lights Etc.. So yes, for those of you that were wondering, it is possible to go gaudy and green (kind of).

2. Fishless, but not fancy-free. This Christmas Eve my very Italian family and I replaced our usual 7 fish soup with minestrone soup. There are a lot of fish that are endangered, victims of pollution, and/or over farmed. For a complete list, check out this Pocket Seafood Guide. On Christmas eve, there are anywhere from 12-18 guests at our table and while the soup is delicious, we figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to eliminate the fish soup this year. The minestrone soup was still tasty- I actually just had some for lunch. I love leftovers. Lasagna is for dinner.

3. Wrap it right. Two ways to tackle the task of gift wrapping. First, you can reuse magazines or newspapers. I actually used a magazine I got from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx (very very Italian neighborhood), which worked out well since the main colors on the page were red, green, and white. If you don’t want to get your fingers inked up, or if you want your wrapped gifts to look a little more festive under the tree- have no fear! The second way is to use green products for purchase such as Reusable Gift Bags, Reused Subway Map Wrapping Paper, or just wrap your gift in another gift like a cute bag or scarf.

4. Cheers with European Champagne. If you are on the East Coast this New Years and are debating between celebrating with sparkling wines from California or champagne from Europe go for the champagne. It is more environmentally friendly to have something air shipped than cargo shipped. Cargo shipments use bunker fuel and 1 ship pollutes just as much as 50 million cars. Ew nasty.

5. Korks 4 Kids: The Korks 4 Kids program takes all of your used corks and works with companies that recycle thematerial. Proceeds go to kids with autism. So drink up and be sure to put a cork bowl beside the drink table for collection. Pretty cool right?

I hope these ideas were useful for you, and that you ring in 2011 in any which way that works for you!

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