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12 Ways to Green Epiphany, A Guide

December 16, 2010


Your GoGreen® Guide to Making it Thru the Holidays, and Starting the New Year off Green!

The twelve days of Christmas actually runs from Christmas Day to Epiphany on January 6th. The term epiphany means “to show,” “make known,” or “to reveal. It’s the period when the Magis took their gift-giving places in traditional lore.

Despite the world’s problems—such as waste, a prominent topic of green philosophy— this is an internationally recognized time of year to share and celebrate. And there is no better time to reveal a green epiphany and lead your family, and friends, into a greener world as in the wake of the New Year!

GoGreen is here to help you generate a green tide of jubilation while keeping footprints conservative and by supporting recycled, fair-trade and eco-friendly markets this holiday season. There are also Green Quick FixesSM mixed in to help you keep a low load on all the holiday cheer!


Happy Holidays from the GoGreen Team!


1. Light Up that Tree!

LED lights use only 10 percent to 20 percent of the energy as conventional incandescent lights, and the energy efficient holiday strings are becoming more readily available each year. From discount stores to premium mall shops, you can find LED version just about anywhere.

Remember that beeswax and soy holiday candles emit no carbon dioxide when you light them, so burn away.


2. Green Conscious Gifts


Clothing and accessories are among the most popular holiday gifts, time immemorial! From burlap hats and bags to Earth Tees with a message and organic designer clothing from Jute & Jackfruit, there is something for every-body.

If you are looking to pamper, consider a gift certificate to wellness center, spa or salon for your friends in and around Boston. GoGreen members Whole Body Solutions in Quincy, Spa Paradiso and Salon on the North Shore, and Hair Consultants Plus in the South Shore will treat your guests to pampering eco-friendly botanical treatments. They might also like the simple gift of relaxation with a certificate to a green bed & breakfast, like Chez Sven.

Stocking stuffers can offer simple, gourmet treats! Try a certificate to Skippin’ Rocks Bakery, shipping fresh, flavorful muffins and cookies across the Bay State.

How about the gift of a car—without actually buying a car! A Zipcar membership is sure to be appreciated. Go Green Web Directory ZipCar applicants receive a discounted annual rate of $25, which is a first year savings of $50 and an annual savings of $25.


Is there a special baby to buy for? Then an organic blanket from Strollie might be the perfect gift.

Looking for a green pet gift? This locally produced, recycled blue jean nap spot from GreenLifeSavor is sure to be Spot’s treasured place.


3. Three Thoughts for Charity

Charity is a gift to those beyond your tight circle.

Schools and children the world over are always in need. Beginning in Massachusetts, Green Schools and More than Words of Waltham are worthy recipients that exemplify green ideals. Reaching beyond our borders, World Computer Exchange is one way to assist students around the world.

Two organizations that are helping to green Massachusetts communities and policy are MassRecycle and the Mass Climate Action Network.

Lastly, the Mass Farmers Market is a way to reach out to the network of hardworking local Bay State farms that help us eat local everyday.


4. Recycled and Electronic Cards

Recycled and renewable source holiday cards and photo cards are widely available in stores and online. has stylish photo-card templates. You might consider electronic holiday cards you can get across a lot of sentiment in under a minute, too.’s e-cards have always been so entertaining and they are ideal if you are a little late on your holiday to-do list!


5. Low-Waste Gift Wrap Ideas

Recycled gift wrap is available at many stores throughout Massachusetts, like Whole Foods. Check labels carefully!, and have gift wrap options featuring hemp, paper with seeds you can plant, and ways to fund great charitable projects.

6. Decorator Tips

Start with what you already have — ornaments and shiny trimmings that worked last year can work now, too.

Try secondhand and consignment shops for holiday decorations, trading in some of your own instead of letting them sit in storage. also has a selection of green ornaments and home goods. And, under “Holiday and Gift Ideas,” have lovely fair trade ornaments made by artisans in Pakistan, India, and elsewhere. Gifts for other festivities are also available, such as this beautiful organza Challah cover made in South Africa.

Circle Furniture

Ms. Green Quick Fixes' Coffee Bean Stockings

You can make your own tree skirt with eco-friendly or recycled fabric following instructions online. Last year I searched and found a recycled tree skirt and stockings made from reused coffee bean bags and recycled sweater from an American artisan.


Redecorating? Celedon Road and Circle Furniture will give elements of your home a decidedly green makeover.

7. Disassemble the Lights

The sooner you take down the lights when the holidays are over, the less electricity you’ll use. Same goes for the house and yard ornamentation.

If you still have some older lighting, hit the after Christmas sales and recycle old lighting at of Pennsylvania.

8. What to do with That Tree

Many religious people take down their tree on Epiphany. Despite when you are taking your down, pesticide-free trees can be safely composted and even disposed of in a pond. Check with your town or for details.


9. Make Green Home Resolutions for 2011


Resolve to have a greener home. Cleaning products from GoGreen members SoBerry Clean and Touch of Purple can help.

Pawsitively Natural will help keep Fido your Finnish Spitz or Calla your Calico involved in a greener New Year. Eco-conscious babies love GoGreen member Bumboosa’s toilet paper, baby wipes, and diaper rash cream made from renewable bamboo.

Part of being green is eating local! A subscription to Edible South Shore, Edible Boston, or Edible Cape Cod will help you—or a loved one—stay the course the whole year through.

10. Energy Defenders has a carbon footprint calculator and tips from lowering your home’s emissions. There’s a lot here that can help you accomplish the five basic steps homeowners can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Change incandescent light bulbs to CFLs in most frequently used fixtures, look for Energy Star products, heat and cool your home efficiently like cleaning air filters regularly and annual servicing, and seal and insulate your home.

The final step is perhaps the most challenging, and “barn raising” projects in several communities like Salem are helping volunteers learn how the pros, who are also volunteering, tackle the most challenging pieces–leaks in the attic and basement and weak and aging areas of your home that have several energy loss and moisture issues.

Sunlight Solar, Oregon

GoGreen members GroSolar, Alternate Energy, Balboni Energy, Sunlight Solar, Alteris Energy, SunWind LLC, Sunshine Advantage, Certified Safe, Adros Energy, and Renewable Energy Systems are local contractors with years of experience, innovative solutions, and hands-on eco-friendly advice.

11. Water Savers

Freshwater is vulnerable even in water-rich areas like Massachusetts. Not only that, the price is only going to go up as we move towards public water management that must charge the full cost of treatment and conveyance services provided.

It’s time to get water wise!

Use a dish bucket or part of a double sink to soak and scrub dishes, whether handwashing or pre-rinsing. This will discourage running the faucet unnecessarily and save thousands of gallons each year..

Set laundry washing machines to the appropriate load size, and bear in mind it’s best to wash larger loads less frequently.

Tighten all plumbing where there are slow leaks. According to the United States Geological Survey, if slow leaks lose one gallon of water in 10 minutes, homeowners pay for 144 gallons per day, or 52,560 gallons per year. USGS writes that most American toilets have a constant leak of 22 gallons per day!

Install flow control devices on faucets, shower heads, and outdoor taps.

And finally, GoGreen members The Great American Rain Barrel, Aquathin, and the Water Depot of NE can help you purify and conserve water used in your home with drinking water filters, cisterns, and so much more.

12. Recycle More

A lot of us know basic recycling, but we can learn more. For example, did you know you should not include Mylar or Tyvek envelopes, foil, or wrapping paper in the bin? They are not recyclable.

But there are a surprising number of small bits that with a little care, can be removed from landfill trash and upcycled!

Wine seals—on the neck of the bottle—are mostly made from lead or aluminum, and can go right in to mixed-use residential bins. Beer tabs can also, but check bottle caps. If they are just metal, include them, but if they have a plastic or rubber liner, they can’t be recycled.

Also, in many communities plastic straws and spouts may be separated from food and drink cartons and recycled. Other small objects like plastic lip balm tubes and portions of pens can also be separated and included!

Beware that books, other than telephone books, cannot be recycled curbside. Many communities are now holding book swaps or there are used bookstores that will take donations.

If you are looking for creative ways to reuse things, the World Environmental Organization recycling database offers ideas. MassRecycle also has a great list of recycling resources that may create the next recycling wave in your community.

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