Holidays

Boxed Wine: A Green Option for the Holidays


There are no bottles in these boxes of wine -- just wine and the plastic pouch that holds it. It's a great "green" option for holiday parties. Boxing instead of bottling wine saves half the shipping weight (and associated carbon emissions) and keeps the product fresher longer. Photo: BotaBox.

Dear EarthTalk: Apparently boxed wine (instead of bottled) is becoming all the rage for environmental reasons. What are the eco-benefits of boxed wine over bottled?
--Justin J., Los Angeles, CA

With more and more wineries offering organic varieties to lower their eco-footprint, it’s no surprise that they’re looking at the environmental impacts of their packaging as well. The making of conventional glass bottles (and the corks that cap them) uses significant quantities of natural resources and generates considerable pollution. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the process of manufacturing glass not only contributes its share of greenhouse gas emissions but also generates nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and tiny particulates that can damage lung tissue when breathed in.

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Life of the Party

Considering cancelling your annual holiday shindig because of cost? No need. "With planning and a little creativity, it's easy to throw a great party without spending a lot of money," says former caterer Denise Vivaldo, author of Do It for Less! Parties: Tricks of the Trade from Professional Caterers' Kitchens and Do It For Less! Wedding: How to Create Your Dream Wedding Without Breaking the Bank. Try some of her favorite themes for successful celebrations on a shoestring. Your guests will never guess that you didn't spend a bundle on them.

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Personalized Soap

Most women love decorative soap. And most moms love a Mother's Day gift that shows off a child's creative work. For these reasons, personalized soap is an ideal gift for Mom, Grandma, godmother, or teacher. Decorative soap is so simple to make you might want to give several bars placed in a pretty basket, lined with a colorful napkin or piece of fabric.

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Last Minute Holiday Touches on the Cheap!

graham cracker gingerbread house!Last minute details can take a holiday home from ho ho hum to spectacular, and doesn't have to cost a lot of cash! Here are some great quick, easy, and inexpensive ideas to wow your guests and comfort your family.

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Easy-Does-It Entertaining

Easy-does-it Entertaining

This holiday season, get your priorities straight
by Vivian Rindik-Wiener

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Adding Extra Cheer to Your Holiday Cards


Are you tired of sending the same old holiday message? Why not try something new; try writing an annual update to accompany the card. Well, letter writing isn't new, but with today's technology, a personal letter via conventional mail can put the cheer back into the holidays.

Your letter doesn't have to be long, just enough to let everyone know what your family is up to. A paragraph on each family member is usually sufficient. I have tried several formats, the typical newsletter style, an informal letter, a photo essay and last year I just sent a poem to let them all know I love them.

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Holiday Cookies and Candies

[fudge graphic]Every year, right after Thanksgiving, I fill my grocery cart with delectable goodies that will fill my kitchen with wonderful smells. It's the time of year when I bake, and bake, and bake some more.

Every Christmas for the past 8 years I have made several types of homemade goodies, wrapped them carefully and sent them on their merry way. Some go to relatives, others to neighbors and some to friends.

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Cook-Ahead Holidays with Debi Taylor-Hough


While other homemakers are spending a good portion of their holidays in the kitchen, chances are Debi Taylor-Hough will be out in the living room with her friends and family, enjoying hers. Why? Because Taylor-Hough has already prepared a good portion of her holiday feasts. They're waiting in the freezer to be thawed and cooked.

"The holidays can be so crazy, throwing in big meals on top of that can put you over the edge," says the Washington homemaker. "Having your meals planned and ready ahead of time can really ease the stress."

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Make a Mantle Quilt

I saw one of these in an expensive little boutique. I have heard of them, but had never seen one up close before. A mantle quilt is a row of quilt blocks that hang over your fireplace mantle or shelf; choose any quilt block you like that doesn't have to be set diagonally. Nine patch, log cabin, rail fence, attic window would all work fine with their straight side blocks. Maybe red and green for Christmas. Let your imagination go!

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Pointsettia Pointers

You may have gone out and bought a poinsettia plant or two to decorate with for the holiday season. But now that the holiday is over, what can you do with it? Throwing it away seems so profligate, somehow, but how to keep it around?

Fortunately, it's relatively easy and quite rewarding. It also might make a neat science project for an older child. Plus, you can save tens of dollars every year, and have the satisfaction of saying, "Oh, no, that's the same plant again, sure." Friends and family will think you're a gardening genius.

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