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Climate Action Corner: Tips For A Greener Holiday Season

Tips For A Greener Holiday Season

We know that the holiday season will be different from other years, with the number of parties reduced, fewer large family gatherings and much less travel. The pandemic provides an opportunity for all of us to actively refocus on what is truly meaningful in our lives, and at no time will the opportunity for reflection be greater than during the holidays of 2020. Your Climate Action Committee encourages you to keep the planet in mind, as well as the health of future generations, as you make your choices for the holidays. Here are some actionable tips for sustainably celebrating:

FOCUS ON GIVING THANKS for Thanksgiving!

Next week instead of large gatherings with many family members and an enormous roasted bird, lots of us will have just immediate family members at our table. So instead of big production meals, we can focus on what really matters: being part of a community, and giving thanks for the friends, family members and clients who make our lives special!

  • Give a call to someone with whom you have not been in touch since March, or longer. If you’ve already been through your contact list once, maybe it’s time for a second pass! The words “thank you” or “I’ve missed you” really can be a valuable gift to someone!

Consider making this year’s holiday meals special by ordering out:

  • Order take-away from some of the many local restaurants and caterers that are open, and really need your business to survive this health crisis. Give a call to your favorite restaurant and see what they are offering. You might consider Ann’s Catering, which used to provide fare for so many of our broker tours, and now provides daily meals and weekend specials to take away!

  • Order a pie or cake for either Thanksgiving or other holidays, and deliver it (or have it delivered) to clients or friends. Here’s a list of local options.

Buy fewer things as gifts, and focus on experiences:

  • Give a membership to a local museum, zoo, or aquarium. Some are outdoor experiences, and all will have safety protocols during the pandemic.

  • Give gift cards to local businesses. That helps some of our favorite businesses stay afloat, and your friends will enjoy excellent local items. The Cheese Board is always a hit with its excellent breads as well as their amazing pizzas! Or choose your local bookstore like Pegasus, Mrs. Dalloways, or Walden Pond Books.

Support local community services with donations:

  • There are so many worthy causes that are having a really tough time, and you can make a donation, or make it in the name of someone you wish to honor. Whether you wish to support the struggling arts, or donate to the food banks which need record donations, or want to help the homeless, your donations will be greatly appreciated. You can help make sure local animals are taken care of by donating to shelters. Through the end of the year you can adopt an animal at the Oakland Zoo. For your animal-loving friends this is a super present and supports our wonderful local facility!

  • Remember to consider the Bridge Community Foundation. Your dollars make a difference!

And when you do buy physical gifts, consider these tips:

  • Give environmentally-friendly gifts that also make a statement, such as plastic-alternatives: bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste tablets, shampoo in bar form, canvas bags, stainless steel travel mugs or water bottles, or garden tools. All of these items and more can be purchased from the local Ecology Center store. And you can refill items at on Solano Ave. Your gifts can also carry an important message!

  • Choose consumable items as great low-waste options; items from your own garden or kitchen are always especially meaningful and appreciated.

  • Buy Local – Check your local crafts fairs and Farmer’s Markets for gift ideas, such as herb-flavored hand-pressed olive oils, specialty chocolates, soaps, monthly vegetable box subscriptions, handmade clothes, jewelry or photography. This supports the local farmers and craftsmen and keeps your precious dollars within our community.

  • Wrap your gifts by recycling: use old maps, comic pages, or re-usable gift bags or baskets. Use reusable ribbons and bows, or decorate with herbs, pinecones, holly or other natural materials. Scraps of wonderful wallpapers make exceptional wrapping paper!

Thanks for your attention, and for putting Thanks front and center during the holiday season of 2020. As difficult as this year has been, we each still have so much for which we can be thankful!

For more tips for sustainable gift-giving, click here.


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