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Go Green This Christmas

Yes, green ribbons, green plaids, and green scarves express your holiday spirit, but why not go deeper, more organic: Christmas shopping with love and respect for the planet?

Going green this Christmas is not as purely altruistic as it seems. If you have been practicing, you probably have discovered concern for our precious Mother Earth usually has benefits for our pocketbooks, too. Recycling plastic bottles and aluminium cans puts money in our pockets, and it reduces the cost of Japanese cars, because the plastic bottles become bucket seats and the aluminium cans become fenders. Preparing our meals "from scratch," we cut our food costs approximately 50%, and we support our local farmers.

Surely, the wisdom and logic carry over to Christmas shopping, where we can save the planet and our pounds sterling by going green. If you can make it instead of buying it, get those fingers flying. When you have a choice between all-natural or synthetic, choose the natural one. When you have a choice between a local artisan and a big manufacturer, choose the local product. Most of all, no matter how loudly the family lobbies, protests, and tantrums, do your best to resist the hue and cry, steadfastly refusing to buy more consumer electronics until you have recycled or refurbished the old ones.

Manage your mall logistics.

Christmas shop strategically. In order to save petrol, pounds, and pollution, you ought to organise all of your daily business to minimise car travel, doing all your chores and errands in one efficient circle from home to destination and back again. The same principle applies more urgently to your Christmas shopping. If you really must frequent the mall, go once, go early, and go early in the morning or late in the evening.

Naturally, you must take your own canvas shopping bag, and you must maintain your dedication to labels and brands. Try to select gifts from socially responsible designers and manufacturers-no factory farming or sweat-shop gear under your tree this year. Of course, you make some trade-offs, paying slightly more for conscience-friendly items, but buying with confidence they will last longer and perform better. Naturally, honouring the demands of conscience, you will alter your mall map, avoiding discount stores but capitalising on seasonal discounts wherever and whenever you can.

Of course, if you're really good at this green stuff and have complementary technical skills, you may avoid the mall altogether, completing all of your Christmas shopping via the internet. Shop today or tonight in the comfort and privacy of your own home, finding rare-maybe even unique-Earth-friendly gifts from all around the world. If your Earth-consciousness has evolved to the highest level, you may order hand-crafted gifts from emerging nations with struggling economies, or you may focus on all-natural gifts from "organic" artisans. Yes, vegan artists paint in all-natural watercolours, and Irish knitters produce spectacular sweaters from organic wool.

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Christmas shop among recycled goods, and reprise a few old-fashioned Christmas decorations. Plastic Christmas trees, like car seats, are made from old soda bottles. Get one. Old-fashioned Christmas-tree farming is just so twentieth century, as is your dedication to extravagant lighting displays on your house and in your yard. Remember that simplicity is the essence of elegance. Adorn your home with a few energy-efficient lights, and make-up in candles what you used to splurge on lights. Wrap your packages in newspaper and red grosgrain ribbon as they did in Victoria's day, and give home-made sugarplums on Boxing Day.