Tag Archives: holidays

Are your holiday traditions sustainably outdated?

This Word by: Ginny Torok

Holiday traditions are an important factor in creating holiday cheer. Does your family have a tradition? For as long as I can remember, Santa has left apples by our beds Christmas eve. In the morning, we awake, ecstatic for the huge red apple left mysteriously on our bedside table. When I think about this now, what a rip off – where’s the candy?! But hey, that’s one way to get kids to eat their fruit!

Family traditions have been in effect so long, no one notices their dihar need for an update, sometimes a sustainable one. We all look forward to piles of gifts under the tree, making this one of the most needed areas of a sustainable re-do. Just as you always should, think about where your gifts are coming from. The holiday season generates almost $500 billion from Americans alone. Think of how much economic growth you could create in your community if you contain most of your gift shopping within city limits. Every dollar you spend locally is more likely to get recycled through the community, resulting in a $5 to $14 value in that community!

Oh, the sweet smells of the holidays. Fresh baking pie, cinnamon apple cider, pine needles and sweet, sweet…landfill? One million extra tons of waste are accumulated nationwide during each week of the holiday period. Check out Green Solutions Magazine for some tips on holiday season recycling.

Remember, your Christmas tree doesn’t have to turn into a wasteful post-Christmas lawn decoration. Buy a live Christmas tree with roots and plant or pot it when you’re done. If you must get rid of your tree, make sure you find a place that recycles trees in your neighborhood. You can use Earth911 to find places to recycle your tree, along with all other types of recyclable materials, in your area.

Do you compete with your neighbors for the best looking decorations? This year, impress them with the best and brightest lights, when you use sustainable LED or solar powered lighting! LED lights use up to 95% less energy than regular bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours. Solar powered lights shine beautifully with no use of electricity. Also, try making your own decorations out of recycled, biodegradable, and reusable materials. See About.com Green Living for some sustainable Christmas decoration ideas.

Last, but never least, holiday food! As always – think local. Cater your holiday parties from local vendors. Leave it to us at OMPP to make your holidays delicious with an assortment of warm seasonal pies. If you wish to make your own holiday meals, remember to source ingredients from local vendors and farmers markets. See our Thanksgiving post for some tips on local holiday meals. And stay posted for an upcoming local vendor spotlight, who we think will ROLL right into your heart. 😉

Happy Holidays!

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Filed under Go Green, Go Local, oh my pocket pies, recycle, sustainable

Homemade for the Holidays



This word by: Emily Holden

Do you spend more of the holidays in your car or in stores than with family and friends? If the answer is yes, you might like to bring this Christmas closer to home by making your own cards, decorations, and gifts. A do-it-yourself Christmas will cut costs and time spent driving, and reduce the amount of trash accumulated during the holidays.  According to recycleworks.org, household waste increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. This has OMPP food artisans rethinking their holiday strategies and bringing their craft skills to the holiday table.

Let’s start with the essential detail for spreading sustainable holiday cheer, the Christmas card. Holiday cards are a useful way to share your love with family and friends, and when made at home, are a simple way to lessen environmental impact. For some examples of tasteful, homemade cards, check out Martha Stewart’s tips on card crafting (Not to be cliché, but the woman knows her stuff!). As for buying the materials you need, check out stores in your area to find recycled card stock, glitter, or anything else that you can’t find at home. Or better yet, send a personalized or animated Christmas card to your friends and family using commercial sites like hallmark.com or bluemountain.com.

Next on the do-it-yourself Christmas list are holiday decorations. Here are five ideas to get you started on your homemade decoration enterprise.

1) Use your own two hands to make Christmas stockings from old or recycled fabric or felt. 2) Reuse branches from your Christmas tree to make colorful holiday wreaths and garland using a coat hanger base. More Eco-friendly wreaths. 3) Construct the perfect centerpiece for your holiday dinner table using a bowl filled with multi colored fruit from your local farmer’s market. 4) Make Christmas ornaments from natural and recycled materials. String popcorn and cranberries drape them across the bows of your Christmas trees. Or, use old greeting cards to make ornaments and even gift boxes and tags. 5) Use the pine needles from your Christmas tree to fill sacks in order to make tree-scented sachet bags.

To successfully create more sustainable, homemade holiday trimmings, here are some tips on how to reuse household items for cool holiday accessories.  Give yourself the guilt free gift of celebrating the holidays sustainably and with a little extra cash in your pocket!

When it comes to presents, one good alternative to store bought items is home baked treats. Apples are in season right now, so how about whipping up a batch of candy apples for gifts? There are many different candy apple recipes to choose from (like these recipes) and endless ways to decorate and present them. Giving the gift of homemade goods made from locally produced ingredients (and ideally served on recycled or compostable dishware) is the ultimate way to say I love you to friends, family, and the environment. Visit the Highland Village Farmer’s Market or Midtown Farmer’s Market every Saturday to get the foods you need for your homemade holiday treats.

For more homemade holiday gift ideas check out mother nature network. We at OMPP think that the best present comes from the heart of the individual and the community they support. That’s why we take care in our daily activities, as well as holiday affairs, to think local, sustainable, and inspirational.

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Get in the Holiday Spirit…Locally!

These holidays don’t spend your money on gifts bought from chain stores – instead opt for an all local holiday! What is the big deal about all local shopping?…Shopping at locally owned businesses puts three times more dollars into our local economy!

In fact, a study found that of $100 spent at a local business, $45 stays in the community, whereas $100 spent at a chain store only puts $13 back into the local economy. In addition shifting just 10% of your shopping from chain stores to locally owned businesses adds $244 million to our local economy annually.* This means you could support a local sustainable economy for your community just by buying less gifts from chains and more from local businesses!

Local businesses don’t just contribute to the local economy, they help build the character of the community. They are owned by our neighbors, relatives, friends, and us!…don’t you want to see us succeed?! Since local businesses contribute greatly to the social, and cultural strength of the community they are a necessity in creating a unique community.

This holiday season we challenge you to eat, drink, and buy locally! Incorporate as many fresh and local ingredients from farmers markets or locally owned stores into your holiday meals as you can. Buy most of your gifts from locally owned businesses. Many local farmers markets sell goods like glass, art, clothes, jewelry and more…buy your gifts at the market! Out of town friends and relatives would love an authentic Texas gift, like an assorted coffee basket from Katz Coffee, found at the Highland Village Farmers Market on Saturdays. Dine and drink at only locally owned restaurants and bars. Even host a local holiday party with drinks made from locally bottled liquor, brewed beer, and wine! This holiday season, give back to your community!

For more information about supporting local businesses for a sustainable community economy, see these sites:

*http://www.amiba.net/

http://www.livingeconomies.org/entrepreneurs/sustainable-agriculture

To find local independent Houston businesses:

http://www.houstongreenscene.org

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Filed under Go Local, houston, Local, local houston, oh my pocket pies, sustainable