An Ecologically Correct Holiday

From Associated Press

You can give Mother Nature a present this holiday season by celebrating in a way that will help--not hurt--the environment.

Follow these tips, offered in the current issue of Good Housekeeping, and you can cut down on household holiday waste as well as having an ecologically correct Christmas.

* Buy a Christmas tree you can plant later on. Ask your local nursery to help you choose one that is likely to grow well in your climate.

* Use an alternative to traditional wrapping paper, much of which has a glazed finish that rules out recycling. Possibilities include wrapping paper made from recycled paper, old maps or posters, picture pages from a 1991 calendar, leftover wallpaper at home or from a sample book.


For wallpaper samples, check with local stores to find out when they get new books. Some of them give the old ones away.

* Instead of using ribbons and bows, make your package ties part of the present. For a woman, use a scarf or belt; for a handyman, a utility or extension cord; for a seamstress, a tape measure--with a pincushion placed on the top for the “bow.”

* Pick “green” stocking stuffers--a pocket-sized field guide; biking or hiking maps; a handmade gift certificate for a family trip to the local nature or science museum.

* Give a tree--a real, growing one. With a tree gift certificate, the recipient can choose to receive a tree-starter kit or have a tree planted in a rain forest. Check gift stores.


* Give a garden. Give seed packets and pruning shears for outdoor spring gardening. Or make an indoor-garden gift of seeds or bulbs plus soil and a deep pot.

* Invite a park ranger or naturalist to entertain children during a party by explaining nature’s wonders.

* Avoid gifts that harm animals and deplete Earth’s threatened resources--such as exotic wildlife, or items made from fur, ivory or tropical hardwoods.

Earthmates are two toys in one--a cotton globe showing an endangered animal on each continent that reverses into a plush animal. Part of each purchase helps save rain forest land.


When the Protect Our Planet calendar was created by Philadelphia junior high school students two years ago, it won the President’s Environmental Youth Award. Look for the 1992 edition ($8.95) in bookstores, or call (800) 345-5359.

For a free catalogue of wrapping paper and holiday cards made from recycled paper, write to Brush Dance, 216 Cleveland Court, Mill Valley, Calif., 94941.