With the holiday season quickly approaching, here are a few ideas about how to maximize your celebration while minimizing its footprint on the earth.
1) Invitations and cards
E-vites and digital invitations are a great way to let your friends and family know about an upcoming celebration or event and save paper at the same time. Websites like Evite, Paperlesspost, and smilebox make it super quick and easy to send template or custom invitations right to your guests' emails.
When decorating for a party or the holidays, always try to use reusable decor. Choose high-quality products that can be reused and passed down rather than single-use or throwaway decorations like paper dishes and plastic utensils and signs. This Thanksgiving banner from Etsy is one great option along with this Eco-friendly party site. If you do use disposable decorations however, make sure to recycle them afterwards! Another idea I love is to forgo store-bought decor altogether and take advantage of nature this season by choosing items like apples, gourds, pumpkins, pine cones, and fall leaves to adorn your home. For pumpkins, try decorating them with washable paint or glue instead of carving them so that they don't rot quickly and you can reuse them later. During the summer, flowers, petals, and sea shells also make great natural decorations. If you choose to use festive lighting, LED's, which are 90% more efficient and last up to 2 times longer than regular lights, are the way to go. Also, anyone who knows me knows I am (just a little) obsessed with candles and I have recently learned about the health and environmental benefits of soy candles over paraffin and beeswax candles. My favourites are from Anthropologie and I love to use them to make little paper lanterns by cutting out patterns in a small paper bag, putting sand at the bottom, and placing a candle in the middle. And finally, do it yourself! There are lots of great sites with fun fall and winter crafts to decorate your home or party in a way that's kind to the earth and doesn't cost a lot of money. My favourites are Pinterest and the Free People blog, both have a multitude of beautiful and innovative ideas on how to reuse or breathe new life into items you already have.
For me, holidays are the perfect excuse to spend hours in the kitchen cooking up yummy pies, cinnamon sweet potato fries, pumpkin treats, hearty vegetable soup, and more. However, for many people (my mom included) the idea of spending so much time preparing 'healthy food' during this crazy season is pointless (eating light and holiday just don't go together) and just adds more stress. However, that doesn't have to be true! There are lots of simple steps you can take to benefit your body and the earth when cooking for the holidays or any event without spending more time or sacrificing those yummy and hearty seasonal staples. Check out recipe ideas from YZL's contributors and other sites we love like Oh She Glows, Kale With Love, The Kind Life, and more for fresh and natural takes on holiday classics! The easiest place to start, though, is at your local farmers market. There you can find fresh and organic ingredients like eggs, dairy products, meat, nuts, and produce from local vendors that can be easily incorporated into any meal and also benefit your body, community, and the environment. If cooking with meat or seafood, make sure you know what you are getting- look for wild seafood and choose meat that is certified organic, humane and/or grass-fed. Furthermore, when shopping for any food, take along reusable bags to carry your purchases home. Plastic bags can take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose and paper bags aren't much better- plus plastic bags often end up discarded in nature and "an estimated one million birds and 100,000 turtles and other sea animals die of starvation each year after ingesting discarded plastic bags which block their digestive tracks!" (Reusethisbag). For kids, especially around Halloween, try swapping out the usual candies full of yucky chemicals, dyes, and high-fructose corn syrup for organic and sustainable treats like those at Yummyearth and for easy and delicious baked goods any time, check out the organic and all-natural baking kits from Babycakes! (These kits also make great hostess gifts).
Caroline Moore- 16 year old, full-time highschooler/part-time chef, dancer, mermaid, yogi, artist, juicer, traveler, philanthropist, lover, journalist, chocolatier, model, tomboy, wannabe hippie, and blogger currently living in Dallas.