Deck the Halls with Sustainable Practices… Fa la la la laaa… la la la laaa!

The holidays can evoke images of relaxing with family, giving of gifts, and gathering around the table for good food, however, the season can also be a consume-a-fest of intense proportions…

Especially if you do it with the planet in mind though, the holiday season can be the best opportunity to stretch those reuse, recycle, reduce legs.  You can have a sustainable holiday AND eat your rugelach too!

Here at Ann Arbor 350, we’ve gathered some of the best (and let’s be honest…fall-off-the-yuletide-log easy) tips from around the internet for the most sustainable and joyful of seasons.

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DIY gift ideas you’ll enjoy making and giving

As an amateur watercolor painter and broke graduate school student, my family and friends are becoming used to my hand-painted cards and wall-worthy (my opinion) paintings as gifts. Plus at least for my nephews and niece, why try to compete against flashy-brightly-colored-Toy-Story-themed-remote-controlled-car with other flashy-brightly-colored-Dora-the-Explorer-themed-remote-controlled-car that is outside of my budget anyway?  A pack of colored pencils and glitter, accompanied by some of their Aunt Jill’s works of art will be enjoyed in both the short and long term.  This holiday season though, I’m taking my DIY gifts to the next level… and yep, I am completely willing to share some of my finds. (Lucky you!)

First, what’s the most accessible DIY gift?

Food!  I am no wood craftsman, BUT I can mix some great ingredients to make a granola that would start your day off right.  And I think most could do that.  Homemade granola, infused olive oils, fudge, freezer jams…. the list goes on and on.  Here’s what I’m cooking and baking this year:

 ”Kitchen Sink” Chocolate Bark

After 2 years of giving truffles to friends and family for the holidays, I am thinking I will aim for a healthier option with crunchy and delicious chocolate bark.  This recipe calls for mixed nuts, dried fruit, and pretzels: you are only limited by your imagination for combinations here.  I think I’ll try almonds and dried apricots….

I also am demolishing a canister of coffee beans this week (only three more exams left…) and I’m thinking that with a quick peel of the label, wash, and addition of ribbon, it will make a great container to hold the bark!

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Our $3.50: Local gift ideas that’ll earn you major points

Our $3.50Buying local holiday gifts is the way to go. I don’t need to tell you why when there’s an awesome info-graphic that’ll do it for me. That info-graphic is posted at the bottom of this post, which is guaranteed to make you a gift-giving superhero. I’ll sort it by the following topic areas: Food, Household/Decorative/Art, Experiences, etc.

Ready, set…GO!

Continue reading Our $3.50: Local gift ideas that’ll earn you major points