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Eco-Friendly Artificial Christmas Tree

Artificial Christmas trees may not be the most eco-friendly option but if you have one you can make it a bit more eco-friendly with these tips.

How to Green Your Artificial Christmas Tree, Eco-friendly Christmas Tree

There is something magical about a Christmas tree, especially when it’s all lit up at night and you turn off all of the other lights. My brother and I used to love laying under our tree and just looking up at it. We also used to sleep in the living room at least one night during the Christmas season, just so we could sleep with the Christmas lights on.


We had real Christmas trees the first couple of years of my life. However, my parents figured out I was allergic to the real trees and the rest of my childhood we had an artificial Christmas tree.

There are advantages and disadvantages to real versus artificial. From an environmental point of view live is likely best but from a homemaking point of view artificial likely wins. For me, there is no choice, artificial or an asthma attack. Any surprise that I stick with artificial?

If you go with a real tree be sure to try to get one locally, bonus green points if it’s potted. If you do choose to go with an artificial Christmas tree, there are ways to make it greener.

HOW TO GREEN YOUR ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS TREE

  1. TAKE CARE OF IT.

    The best thing you can do is take care of your tree and get as much use out of it as possible. If you do decide to get a new tree when your old one still has some life in it, donate it. Many can’t afford a tree and would be happy to take your tree, even if it’s not perfect.

  2. VACUUM AND DUST OFTEN.

    Most artificial trees contain PVC which can contain lead and most lights also contain lead. Make sure to vacuum and wet dust the room the tree is in often to reduce lead exposure. Also, don’t let kids touch the tree and wash your hands well after handling it.

  3. CHOOSE A LOW PVC OR PVC-FREE TREE.

    PVC-free trees are hard to find and quite expensive. However, you are now seeing more trees that use more PE plastic in place of some of the PVC. Our tree is mostly PE with just some PVC. It’s from Balsam Hill and we are very happy with it. Look for the trees they call “most realistic.” The realistic branches are the non-PVC ones.

  4. USE LED LIGHTS.

    LED lights use less energy and last longer. They also put off less heat making them much safer. Remember, even LED Christmas lights can contain lead. Wash your hands after using them and don’t like kids handle them.

Want more green Christmas tips and to have a stress-free Christmas? Check out A Stress-Free Christmas: A Complete How-To Guide.

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Shop Oklahoma for Christmas

Finishing up your Christmas shopping? Be sure to support local stores to help your community while you shop! There are so many great ideas for ways to shop locally this Christmas.

shoplocal2

  • Gift Certificates to Local Shops
  • Keep It Local OK Discount Card
  • Gift Certificates for Local Restaurants
  • Donate in Recipients Name to a Local Charity
  • Shop Locally Owned Stores for Unique Gifts
  • Local Food and Drinks for Host/Hostess Gifts
  • Check Out Local Craft Fairs
  • Oklahoma Food Cooperative Membership
  • Gift Certificates for Local Services

There are so many ways to support local businesses this Christmas. We will be sharing some of our favorite gift ideas on our Facebook page until Christmas. Be sure to like us so you don’t miss any ideas!


Oklahoma Food Coop Gift Guide

Oklahoma Food Coop Gift Guide

The Oklahoma Food Coop has many wonderful gift items currently available. There is a wide range of gifts, you are sure to find something for everyone on your list! When you Christmas shop through the coop you are helping to support local producers and artists, as well as the Oklahoma Food Coop. Here is just a small sample of the great gifts you can find at the Oklahoma Food Coop this year.

 


000-4

Fresh Cedar Wreath- Cedar Spirit

Lotion Bars

Organic Peppermint Lotion Bar- Soft and Tweet

Foaming Scrub
Lavender Foaming Body Scrub- Theraganics

Chalk Board Labels

Chalk Board Labels- Celtic SuperCenter

OU Pen

OU Pen- 42 Minutes Woodworking

Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate Truffles- Backyard Bounty

Oklahoma Food Coop Cookbook

Oklahoma Food Coop Cookbook

December orders close on Thursday, Decemeber 11th. So get your orders in now.

DIY Holiday Gift Guide


DIY Holiday Gifts

Do-It-Yourself gifts are a fun way to give a unique gift. They are perfect for everyone on your list, especially the hard to buy for! We have put together some of our favorite ideas to help you get started.

popcorn

Popcorn Seasoning Kit

Peppermint Vanilla Lip Scrub

Peppermint Vanilla Lip Scrub

DIY Ornaments

Fabric Ornaments

sugar scrub

Sugar Scrub

homemade perfume

Solid Perfume

Gingerbread Playdough

Gingerbread Playdough

Etched Spoons

Etched Spoons

DIY Wreath
Diy Wreath

Reed Diffuser

Reed Diffuser

Peppermint Bath Bombs
Peppermint Bath Bombs

Share your favorite DIY holiday gift ideas in the comments below. And check back all month for more eco-friendly holiday ideas.


Small Business Saturday Deals

Today is Small Business Saturday. The weather is lovely and it’s a perfect day to get out and do some holiday shopping. Shopping locally helps your community in many ways and today you will find many great sales at local stores. Below are some we have found.

Shop Local in Oklahoma

Backyard Bounty (OKC)- Grab some food and coffee while getting your shopping done at Urban Agrarian. For one day only Backyard Bounty has a pop up cafe in the store.


Urban Agrarian (OKC)- Check out their build-your-own gift basket station to make a beautiful gift.

Green Bambino (OKC)- Get a scratch off card which is worth at least 10% off your entire purchase. There are even some cards that will make your purchases free.

Shop GOOD (OKC)- Buy one get one 1/2 off on all Shop Good tee shirts. 20% off all men’s & women’s clothing, shoes & bags. Buy one get one free clearance rack. Plus a free gift with your $50+ purchase (while supplies last) and complimentary hot coffee.

Collected Thread (OKC)- 3rd Annual Shop Garage Sale, Love Well Handmade sale as well as 10% off the entire shop.

The Changing Table (OKC)- Earn double Baby Buck Loyalty Rewards.

Ragsdale’s Conversation Emporium (Ada)- All books, vintage clothing and fabric, games, and selected art 50% off. Small business Saturday only.

The Woodland Emporium (Sulphur)- First 10 customers that spend $45 or more on Small Business Saturday will receive a free gift. Other deals going on as well.

SMITH’s Okie Twister Co. (Sulphur)- All fall items are 40% off.

Owl & Drum (Tulsa)- All fabric on sale. 20-50% off select gifts.

2nd Hand 3rd Eye (Tulsa)- 20% off of the whole store.

Okie Crowe (Tulsa)- Free Okie Crowe soap with $20 purchase in-store and online while supplies last. One per customer.

The Bookerie, the Favoring Brave store (Tulsa)-  Get a free mini print with a $30 purchase.

Theraganics (Tulsa)- Spend $25 and get a free canvas tote. Every purchase gets a free gift, a shower pouf, soap sack or face brush.

Old Pink Truck (Tulsa)-  20% OFF

Garden Deva Sculpture (Tulsa)- 40% off Holiday, 25% off all in-stock metal art.

This Land Press Store (Tulsa)- Grand opening! First 50 guests will receive a complimentary stocking stuffer, and purchases over $50 will come with a gift subscription. Cider and cookies, as well as new merchandise and special offers throughout the store

Grogg’s Green Barn (Tulsa)- Get cash back for the spring.

River City Trading Post (Jenks)- Drawings for $25 prepaid America Express gift cards. Spend $100 or more and your name goes in for the drawing. Free totes while supplies last.

The Vintage Phoenix Vendor Mall (Broken Arrow)- 5% – 60% off.

Bouncing Woolies (online)- Dryer balls as low as $5 in FUNK style. Free shipping on all USA orders of $100+


Have you seen other deals around your town? Share in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And share the graphic above on your social media to encourage your friends to shop local this holiday season.

Lead Exposure and Christmas Photos

Christmas photos of kids, pets, and families wrapped in lights are cute but they may not be safe.

Could your Christmas photos be dangerous? Lead and Christmas lights, lead poisoning, lead exposure

This time of the year you will see photos of kids, pets, and couples wrapped in Christmas lights. Sure these photos are cute but are there hidden dangers?


One big danger is the fact that most Christmas lights contain lead. According to one CNN analysis, four common brands of Christmas lights contained lead levels that are considered to be dangerous to children. And many experts say no level is safe.

“There is no level at which lead exposure is safe,” Dr. Trasande said. “Even at one microgram/deciliter — the lowest level in a person’s blood stream that we can detect — that level has been associated with cognitive impairment in children.”- read more

A quick search on Pinterest and you will find hundreds of photos of babies wrapped in lights, some with the lights in their mouths. This is very concerning given the amount of surface lead found in Christmas lights. Also in many of the photos, the lights are plugged in, adding an extra danger to the situation.

Protect Yourself from Lead Christmas Lights

  • Don’t let children handle the lights.
  • Wash your hands after handling lights.
  • Wear gloves while handling lights.
  • Choose Made in the USA lights when possible, generally, they have lower levels of lead than imported brands.
  • Buy lead-free lights.
  • Vacuum often with a HEPA filter vacuum and/or wet mop.
  • Dust often with a wet rag.
  • And of course, skip the photos with people and animals wrapped in Christmas lights.

Artificial Christmas trees often contain lead as well, so use the same caution with the tree. Also look for trees that use PE tips, it reduces the amount of PVC and lead.

Be sure to share this post to help prevent lead exposure this holiday season.

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8 Reasons to Shop Locally for the Holidays

The holidays are fast approaching. This holiday season you can help support your community by shopping locally. Here are eight reasons why it’s important to shop locally.shop locally

  • Create Jobs – “If every American spent $64 on something made in America, we could create 200,000 jobs right now.” [source]
  • Keep Money Local – Sales taxes help fund vital services in our communities. Also, local businesses are also more likely to spend money locally, keeping more money in the community.
  • Creates a Diverse Community –  Shopping locally encourages people to businesses that are unique and an alternative to chain stores.
  • Better for the Environment – Many locally owned businesses also offer local products which require far less transportation.
  • Better Customer Service – Local businesses owners are passionate about their businesses and connected to the community. This often contributes to better and more personal customer service.
  • Helps Your Community Grow – Keeping tax dollars in your community and creating demand will help encourage new businesses and help your city grow.
  • More Support for Nonprofits – Studies show that nonprofits receive 250 percent more support from small businesses than larger businesses.
  • Connect with your Community – Shopping locally helps you connect with people in your community and learn about more things going on around you.

Encourage your friends and family to shop locally this year by sharing this post and this graphic. And post your favorite local shops in the comments below!

shop local


Recycled Halloween Crafts

These recycled Halloween crafts are adoreable and easy to make. Many are easy enough for kids to make.

Recycled Halloween Crafts, Upcycled Halloween Crafts, Halloween DIY

Looking for some easy Halloween craft projects? We have gathered some great ones that use materials from your recycling bin!


It’s a great way to save on craft supplies and be a bit greener this Hallowen. It’s amazing what you can make with things that were headed to the landfill.

These recycled Halloween crafts are perfect for different ages and skill levels. They would also be fun to do at a school Halloween party.

Recycled Halloween Crafts

Recycled Halloween Crafts, Upcycled Halloween Crafts, Halloween DIY

Additional Resource: How to Have an Eco-Friendly Halloween

Recycled Halloween Crafts, Upcycled Halloween Crafts, Halloween DIY

Additional Resource: Have a Greener Halloween

Recycled Halloween Crafts, Upcycled Halloween Crafts, Halloween DIY

Additional Resource: Things to Do This Fall in Oklahoma

Recycled Halloween Crafts, Upcycled Halloween Crafts, Halloween DIY

Start saving up your recycling to use in these great crafts. It’s a great way to upcycle your trash and help the planet.

Interested in more green living tips? Sign up for our mailing list below.

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10 Tips for Reducing Waste During Christmas

Christmas is a fun and wonderful time but it can also come with a lot of waste. These easy steps can help reduce Christmas waste. 

Reduce Christmas Waste, How to Reduce Christmas Waste, Eco-friendly Christmas

From the extra energy expended to keep the Christmas lights on to stacks of Christmas cards, the holidays inevitably generate a lot of waste.


It is estimated that from Thanksgiving to Christmas, an additional 1 million tons of waste fill our landfills each week.  However, being mindful that our Earth is one of the greatest gifts doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fun or the holiday spirit. This Christmas, try to keep these 10 simple waste reduction tips in mind as you are wrapping presents and trimming the tree.

10 Tips for Reducing Christmas Waste

Reduce Christmas Waste, How to Reduce Christmas Waste, Eco-friendly Christmas

1. Use less ribbon or no ribbon at all when wrapping presents. If every household in the US alone used 2 ft. less ribbon this year, we could save approximately 43,470 miles of ribbon waste – more than enough to tie a bow around Earth’s 24,901-mile circumference.

2. Use wrapping paper that is recyclable, or made from recycled products, or think of innovative ways to wrap presents. For example, you can purchase wrapping paper that is made from recycled paper. You can use also fabric or cloth bags to wrap presents.

3. Recycle your live Christmas tree. Or better yet, purchase a potted tree and plant it after the holidays. Here is a link for various contacts in the metro area for recycling your tree after the holidays. You can also purchase an artificial tree and reuse it year after year.

4. Make sure you are using LED Christmas lights. Try to limit the time the lights are actually are at night by putting them on timers.

5. Send a few less Christmas Cards – or better yet, make them an e card. According to Hallmark, approximately 1.5 billion cards are sent out each year.  That’s enough to fill a football field 5 stories high. Here are some great, free, online e card resources: 123Greetings, Care2, and American Greetings. If you do send Christmas cards, use paper made of recycled material. Here are a few interesting resources for recyclable wrapping paper: Boomin, Botanical Paperworks, and Greenfield Paper. These companies produce paper with flower, herb, and vegetable seeds. Once used, it can be planted to grow! Make sure you recycle the cards you do receive or reuse them for a craft project.

6. Buy rechargeable batteries with your gifts. Even consider purchasing a battery charger with your gift. Approximately 40 percent of all battery sales happen during the holidays.

7. Don’t throw away leftover food and compost scraps if you can. If you can’t compost, check out this website to see if you can actually use your food scraps in a recipe.

8. Recycle, recycle, recycle.

9. Be creative in your gift giving and avoid potential waste. For example, consider giving the gift of an experience or event – a concert or lessons for a new hobby. Consider giving a charitable donation in someone’s name.

10.Donate Christmas gifts you received that you don’t want – don’t just throw them away.

Following these tips will mean a less wasteful but just as wonderful of Christmas.

Want to get more tips like this delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to our mailing list below. 

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Oklahoma Green Gift Guide

okgifts

It’s time to finish up your Christmas shopping and we have some great green gift ideas from local stores. Shopping locally will not only help cure your cabin fever from the winter storm but also help support your community.

Out of every $100 spent at a local store, $68 returns to the community. Out of the same $100 spent at a national chain only $43 returns to the community. We hope you enjoy these ideas and commit to shopping locally this year, even if you only with part of your budget.

Mini Pie

A mini pie from Backyard Bounty Bakery is great for the person on your list with a sweet tooth.
The pies would also be a fun dessert to take to a party.

bars of soap


Theraganics has many great bath and body products including a set of three bars of soap, which would make a great gift.

coop

The Oklahoma Food Cooperative has so many wonderful items that would make great gifts.
One great idea is to give a Oklahoma Food Cooperative membership.
Oklahoma Food Cooperative memberships are lifelong so it’s a gift that keeps giving.

bathsalts

With all the holiday stress some De-Stress bath salts from Love the Earth Products is a great gift for the bath lover on your list.

green-toys-airplane

Can’t forget the kids on your list. Green Bambino has many great eco-friendly toy options, including
this Green Toys airplane. Green Toys are made from recycled milk jugs and are free of the toxins that can be found in many toys.

lip balm

Lip balm from Love, Grapefruit makes a great stocking stuffer. With all of this cool weather who can’t use a little lip balm?

ipermie
For the book lovers and gardeners on your list Oklahoma permaculture expert, Bob Waldrop’s book iPermie is the perfect gift.

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 12.30.07 PM

Gadget lover on your list? Why not get them this ethically made iPad case.
You can get it from SHOP GOOD, along with many other great gifts.

soap_lotion_gift_box_400

Soap for Goodness Sake makes and sales all kinds of great natural bath products.
This gift set is one wonderful gift idea that’s perfect for the ladies on your list.
It includes a soap, lip balm, lotion and a blank card and envelope.

wreathcake

This beautiful wreath cake from Two Bunny Bakery is a great gift and would also be perfect for your holiday parties.
It’s a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream, decorated with Unreal natural chocolate candies.

cellar

Need a hostess gift for a holiday party? Cellar Wine & Spirits has a huge selection of wine include organic wines and local wines.
They also have organic spirits and beer that also make great gifts.

coffee

Locally roasted coffee makes a wonderful gift. Mariposa coffee can be found at Native Roots Market
and is sure to please the coffee lovers on your list.

cheese

Forward Foods has an amazing selection of cheeses that are perfect for parties and gifts.

basket

 Can’t pick just one gift? Pick up several and put them in a Fair Trade basket from Native Roots Market for a wonderful and thoughtful gift. Wine and local cheese, bath products, coffee, a mug and a sweet treat, the options are endless.

Have more great local and eco-friendly gift ideas? Share in the comments below or join the conversation on our Facebook page