It’s Easy to be Green for the Holidays

Winter is no stranger to Chicago and can sometimes feel like a less-than-pleasant guest. But as the days get shorter and colder, we set our sights on the gifts of winter and look forward to holidays, friends, and food.

Put planet Earth on your gift list and consider these ideas for how to have a more environmentally friendly holiday season:

Decorate with natural materials: Collect things from your yard to use as holiday decorations. Dried flowers, evergreen boughs, and acorns can become a table centerpiece. Choose a tree you can see from your window to decorate for the birds, and hang it with pinecone bird feeders and strings of cranberries and popcorn.  

Give the gift of experience: Nothing feels quite as special as spending time together during the holidays. The Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden has lots of opportunities: Take a cooking class with someone special, invite a friend to a relaxing yoga session, or explore snow science at a nature night.

Share your love of plants: Add more plants to your indoor space, or give one as a gift. Opt for fragrant and easy-to-grow herbs like mint, parsley, or lavender.

Make your own wrapping paper: Wrapping paper that is glossy or shiny, or has foil in it usually cannot be recycled. Try decorating sheets of butcher paper for something more sustainable, or wrap presents in the comics section of the newspaper.

Try out some of these ideas and get inspiration for more on December 15 at our free Gifts from the Garden drop-in. It is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Burnstein Hall of the Regenstein Center.