Holiday Hours, Tips and Staff Picks for Gifts from the Ecology Center

20131219giftwrapOur Store, Farmers’ Market, Farm Fresh Choice and Recycling all have special holiday schedules in the next few weeks.

  • Farm Fresh Choice and the Farmers’ Market will be closed between 12/23/13 and 1/1/14.
  • Recycling will not be running pick up service on 12/25/13, and 1/1/14 but will resume Thursday, 12/26/13 – Saturday, 12/28/13, and Thursday, 1/2/14 – Saturday, 1/4/14.
  • The Store will be open through Monday, 12/23/13, 11 AM – 6 PM each day, and then on Tuesday, 12/24/13 from 11 AM – 4 PM. The Store and Info program will be closed 12/25/13 – 1/1/14, re-opening on Thursday, 1/2/14.

Take advantage of our Store’s extra days of being open before Christmas to select your gifts. Our staff have many recommendations for affordable, crowd-pleasing gifts, including:

  • Plastic-free lunch containers: many styles, sizes and uses
  • Extra-large glass jars
  • Bambu reusable utensils
  • Glob non-toxic paints and art supplies
  • Local food wheel
  • AquaFarm home aquaponic kit
  • Nikki McClure calendar, Lunar Phase calendar, and many more calendars
  • Solar mechanics kit for kids
  • Recycled glass pump dispensers
  • Bolga baskets for beautiful home storage or farmers’ market shopping
  • Books for everyone and all ages, including Mushrooms Demystified, A is for Activist, cookbooks and more!

We also want to share tips for having a holiday built around less stress and less waste. With a little planning, choosing quality over quantity and thoughtfulness over expense can be a good way to ensure that human relationships rather than consumer purchases dominate your holiday experience.

Gift Wrap and Gift Cards
Much of the additional waste headed to the landfill during the holiday season comes in the form of gift-wrap, packaging, envelopes and gift tags. Good reused or reusable alternatives include:

  • Re-used paper for wrapping: old maps, sheet music, advertisements or pictures from magazines, newspapers, lightweight wallpaper, last year’s holiday paper (use a warm iron if wrinkled), or pages from a coloring book. Newspapers and other plain reused paper can be dressed up by using rubber stamps to stamp pattern.
  • Fabric for wrapping: Use scarves, handkerchiefs, pillowcases, or leftover fabric. Try folding the fabric in a Japanese style called Furoshiki, and you won’t need ribbon or tape either.
  • Baskets, reusable tins or jars, a plain wooden crate all make good containers to put a gift in.
  • Cards or gift tags: use any of the reused paper suggestions above. Or, cut up last years’ cards and glue recycled paper on the back to write a new message. Look in your recycling bin. Anything that can be cut into a rectangle can become a gift tag.

When opening presents, save the wrapping paper, boxes, tins, ribbons, bows and cards for next year. Try to wrap without tape to make saving easier. If you purchase gift-wrap, look for wrapping paper and holiday cards with post-consumer recycled content, which avoids cutting down any new trees, and closes the recycling loop. The Ecology Center Store carries many cards and some gift wraps that are recycled-content.

Holiday Meals
Plan ahead for your meals. Stressful last minute trips to the store can result in more expensive, over-packaged, and lower quality food at your table. Our last Farmers’ Markets for the year are running Thursday, 12/19/13 and Saturday, 12/21/13. Buy your healthy, less-packaged treats and ingredients from our local farmers. Bulk produce makes a great centerpiece for a holiday meal!

[photo by vuala on Flickr]

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