There is no better time for locals on Hilton Head Island than the holidays.
For the few weeks before Christmas, the community shares a closeness and warm spirit. It’s the best time of the year to go out and see holiday lights, enjoy holiday music, give back and shop! Unfortunately, this special time of year seems to necessitate activities that are not so eco-friendly.
Here are a few tips to have a responsible holiday season and to give back to the Earth:
- Don’t cut down a tree! The average Christmas tree is 10 years old. Rather than cutting down these important plants, use a potted, living tree instead. There are a number of different firs, pines and cypress trees that yield the right shape, and you can either keep them potted outdoors the rest of the year or plant them back in the ground after the holiday season. Alternatively, you can rent a live tree, which will be collected after the festive season. To purchase a tree, your best bet is to visit a local plant nursery. If necessary, trees can also be purchased online.
- Decorate with nature or even trash. Get creative and resist purchasing trays of plastic, glass and metal ornaments, wrapping paper and foil ribbons, plastic trees and flowers—all of which is difficult to recycle and packed with chemicals and components that are bad for plants and animals. Decorate your home and your tree with holly, cedar sprigs and magnolia leaves. Or, get creative and use old soda bottles, cans, coffee bags and papers to create your own decorations, which you can recycle after the holidays or save for future use. Wrap your gifts in a reusable shopping bag, which you can personalize for the recipient with craft paint. Or reuse newspaper, wallpaper, book pages, paper grocery bags and off-cuts of fabric to wrap your gifts. Incorporate eco-friendly sprigs of in-season greenery and bio-degradable twine instead of ribbons and bows.
- Choose Earth-friendly family activities. Make memories this holiday season by choosing a great outdoor activity to do with your family. Outside Hilton Head offers daily kayak tours, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Kayaking is comfortable and safe for every member of your family and is sure to be a bonding experience. The December temperatures are perfect for exploring the marsh, breathing some fresh air and seeing Hilton Head’s most scenic views. The best part is that you won’t be burning fuel or creating trash!
- Gift responsibly. When choosing gifts for your friends and family, consider the amount of packaging of various options. Choose gifts that make green choices easier for your friends and family, like a nice recycling bin or compost enclosure. Give experiences rather than things, like yoga classes, historical tours or outdoor adventures. Shop local stores for unique items produced in your community, rather than imported, generic items. For all those small gifts on your list, an easy-to-grow houseplant in a nice pot is always a perfect gift.
Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season on Hilton Head Island!
By Jessie Renew, Outside Hilton Head
For more than 30 years, Outside Hilton Head has provided personalized adventures for all ages, from kayak, fishing, nature and dolphin tours to kids’ camps, history excursions, family outings and stand-up paddle boarding. To book your holiday kayak outing with Outside Hilton Head, call (843) 686-6996 or visit outsidehiltonhead.com.