COURTESY LILY LOTUS
At Alliway, Ward Warehouse, look for Lily Lotus shirts, made of cotton and 70 percent bamboo, an eco-friendly and fast-growing sustainable plant. Also, look for bamboo and organic shirts from Kailua-Kona based Organik Clothing Co., at Urban Jungle, Waikiki Town Center, beginning Monday.
A green season
Give gifts that put less stress on our environment this year and rejoice in the process
This is the season for giving and, as a result, also the season of wastefulness. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, Americans toss out 900,000 metric tons of garbage each week, including holiday wrapping and packaging, according to Robert Lilienfeld, co-author of "Use Less Stuff: Environmental Solutions for Who We Really Are."
Even those who live green might have difficulty reconciling the desire to celebrate with the desire to leave a light footprint on the planet, but Regan Schultz, owner of Modern Pacific Weddings, doesn't see a conflict at all. She's been living green since she was 15, and over the years has found ways to bring cheer with a more personal than commercial touch.
"I like to focus on the original reason for the celebration," she said. "I love the holiday, but I don't like how retailers use it to create a buying frenzy."
Considering the changing weather patterns blamed on global warming, she said, "I think people have seen the results of carelessness, and I think they want to try to do something good and beneficial in everything they do these days. I think there's a new generation of people who really appreciate green products that are just now coming to be accepted as mainstream and cool."
COURTESY MODERN PACIFIC WEDDINGS
Recipients will appreciate goodies you baked yourself or other homemade edibles like jams and jellies, infused cooking oils or a gift basket with all the fixings for a single meal.
COURTESY MODERN PACIFIC WEDDINGS
Take time to send a handwritten note, made of recycled paper.
Here are some of Schultz's tips for going green this Christmas:
» Avoid buying big plastic toys or, worse, big plastic toys shrink-wrapped in plastic. They are fun for a day or two but inevitably end up in the unwanted pile in your child's bedroom, then the landfill. "Find toys that are intriguing and therefore longer-lasting, made from more natural materials and have an educational, environmental or global interest value," she said.
» Consider gift-wrap options. Schultz suggests using gift bags made from recycled paper that can be reused and are biodegradable. "Buy felt bags, cloth gift bags, lau hala gift boxes," she said, which have uses beyond mere packaging. She also suggests making your own gift tags from paper materials around the house.
» Recycle your tree. It's a tossup between fresh and fake because most real Christmas trees are grown on tree farms that do not contribute to deforestation. A lot of petroleum is used to create plastic Christmas trees, but a lot of petroleum is also used to fly real firs to Hawaii. "The least you can do is to recycle your real tree so it doesn't take up space in the landfill. The resulting wood chips and mulch can be used for gardening," Schultz said.
» How much more stuff do people need? Buy biodegradable and consumable gifts -- like flowers, honey, local jams, organic fruit baskets from local health food stores and markets or a nice potted plant -- that support local farmers and cottage industries. A gourmet selection of flower, herb and veggie seeds is "the kind of gift that keeps on giving," she said.
» Buy subscriptions for eco-educational magazines so friends and family can learn how to be greener all year long.
» Consider LED Christmas lights. These consume less energy than typical lights, and if you're the first on the block to host eco-lights, Schultz said, "Hopefully everyone will want to keep up with the Joneses, or the Greens in this case!"
Lush Handmade Cosmetics is known for eco-friendly products and packaging. With its "Super-sized Pud," short for pudding, the fizzy bath ballistic is part of the packaging, which is compostable. Inside are a bar of almond-scented soap and spicy Bob soap, for $26.95 at Lush at Ala Moana Center and Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.
Pack gifts into reusable shopping bags to encourage people to use fewer plastic bags. Anya Hindmarch's famous shopping bag, right, is $27 at the Wedding Cafe, Ward Warehouse.