1626361The sights and sounds of the season are all around us, glimmering lights, giant snowmen, green wreaths hung on doors and the peek of a Christmas tree in your neighbour’s window. The holidays are here and with them Christmas greetings, warm wishes for the holiday sent with love from friends and family.

The annual Christmas card flurry has arrived.

It’s that time of year when you learn what your 2nd cousin twice removed did for summer vacation and how little joey was the MVP of his baseball team. When I was little, I remember going to my gram’s house and seeing all of her Christmas cards proudly displayed along the door jam. I would look through them, all the pretty pictures on the front and gram would tell me stories about the people who sent them – who they were, how she knew them, and usually a funny antidote about something she remembered fondly about them.

When I got married, I couldn’t wait to do the same for my kids. I love getting cards from family and friends but after the warmth of the holidays has morphed into the cold reality of January, what in the world do we do with all those cards? And what impact do they have on the environment?

Now I’m not trying to be the Grinch, I don’t want to steal your Christmas fun, but I do want to make our holidays as green as we can, and Christmas or holiday cards are part of that. So here’s what we can do:

For those we receive:
The ones with glitter, felt, foil or ribbon:
Did you know that glitter is not recyclable? I know, right? It totally should be! I am a huge believer in the theory that everything’s better with glitter, but as I’ve been told, many times, by the rest of the NEAT crew, my glitter addiction has got to go. Have you noticed that a lot of holiday cards are covered in extra stuff? Sadly, those glittery, ribbon, foiled warm wish giving cards are not friends of our environment. The best thing to do with those cards is to repurpose them into something new. There are tons of reuse crafts you can do with old cards. Not crafty yourself? Find an organization or group that accepts recyclable materials for crafting use (I’ve got a NEAT idea of one such group).

The ones that are 100% paper:
If the card is made of paper and only paper, they can happily go into your blue bin or the paper bin at your local transfer station.

For those we give:
The best way to be 100% environmentally friendly with our season’s greetings is to send our loved ones e-cards. There are literally hundreds of options for sending e-cards and the great thing is, instead of the same card to every person on your list, you can personalize them and send different cards to different groups.

Now I know some of you are shaking your heads and thinking that an e-card is not the same. Don’t fret! There are lots of companies that are producing cards that have a smaller impact on the environment, from cards made from recycled paper to cards that can be planted in the spring, the abundance of options available for those of us that still think nothing replaces the Christmas card parade around the door jam.

So go ahead and send those cards and let those you love know you are thinking about them this year.


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