Times are tough and cash may be short but here are some ways to stretch your holiday dollar and go green at the same time. Many of these suggestions can be used year round.
- Be creative. Have your children draw or paint pictures and wrap gifts with their artwork.
- Use old calendars that have photos, drawing and paintings.
- The Sunday funny papers have long been used as gift wrapping.
- Use brown paper bags and decorate with ribbons, bows, or colored yarn or string.
- Scraps of old fabric, baby blankets, and sheets can be repurposed and reused year after year.
- Give your gifts in re-usable shopping bags.
- Use old jars, bottles, cans and boxes. These are especially good for homemade treats. You can decorate these and make them an artwork.
- Home supply and paint stores have books of wallpaper samplers that are no longer in stock. See when these will be replaced with newer samples and ask if you may have the old books. These work well for wrapping small to medium sized gifts.
- Make handmade ornaments. Christmas ornaments were handmade until the mid1900’s. Being creative gives families an opportunity to turn off the TV and be together in the holiday spirit.
- Make ornaments out of recycled materials, pine cones, and last year’s Christmas cards.
- String spools of thread, popcorn, cranberries, or make paper chains.
- Make gingerbread cookies, or cut ornaments out of flour dough and paint them.
- If you switch from regular incandescent lights to LED lights you will see a significant drop in your electric bill. You can recycle your old bulbs at www.holidayleds.com. Send in your old bulbs and HolidayLeds.com will give you a 15% discount on the purchase of new LED bulbs.
- Put your lights on a timer to save even more energy.
- Recycle your tree at GReeley Organic Waste located one mile east from highway 85 on 8th St. Tuesday through Saturday 9:00-4:00.
- Try a crockpot, pressure cooker, microwave or toaster oven. These use much less energy than your oven or stove.
- Glass and ceramic pans retain heat better than metal pans and insulate food better than metal. Lower the baking temperature 25 degrees when using glass and ceramic pans.
- Use pots and pans that match the pan size to the size of the unit. A 6″ pot on an 8″ burner wastes over 40 percent of the burner’s heat. Using the right sized pot on stove burners can save about $36 annually for an electric range, or $18 for gas. Cover pots and pans with fitted lids to retain the heat.
- Do not pre-heat the oven when roasting or broiling.
- Turn off your electric range or oven 2-3 minutes before the end of cooking time. Retained heat will finish the cooking.
- Do not open the oven door! The temperature drops 25-30 degrees.
- Let frozen foods defrost before cooking them.
- After your coffee is brewed, pour it into a thermos and turn off the coffee machine. This saves electricity and keeps the coffee from getting a burnt flavor.
- Use reusable plates, cups and cutlery whenever possible.
This is only a sampling of ideas to save money, energy and resources. If you are interested in a Green Home Makeover, A Green Business Certification, environmentally safe products, or would like an informational seminar for your service organization or place of business, please contact Karen Scopel at Karen.Scopel@Greeleygov.com>, or Hollis Berendt at HollisSellsHomes@comcast.net.