According to the Environmental Protection Agency, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the average American household’s waste increases by 25%. Below are ways to help reduce that:


• Shop local (saves on gas and keeps money in the community)

• Make Memories, not garbage: Give something to do, which they’ll long remember such as gym membership, dinner for two, classes at Fletcher Farm or Six Loose Ladies, music lessons, pass to the state parks, a membership in Cavendish’s only CSA Little Village Farm to name just a few ideas.

•  Area Business Services Gift Certificate. Check out the Cavendish Business Directory to arrange unique and one of a kind gifts.

• Buy handmade: There are a number of wonderful local artists whose work is available in area stores-check out Fletcher Farms Gift Shop, Six Loose Ladies as well as the Cavendish Business Directory under Artists.

Make a donation in someone’s name and support one of the local non-profits. Hint hint, give the gift that gives back year round by supporting Cavendish Connects, and we’ll send a very special card announcing your gift.

• Give homemade gifts in reusable containers such as glass jars, tins, boxes, baskets etc.

• Re gift: Black River Good Neighbor (BRGN) Thrift Store is an excellent place to shop. Craigslist  and Freecycle Springfield  are all good places to check out.

• Reusable Gifts: Encourage family and friends to eliminate disposable items by giving them water bottles, lunch kits, LED lights etc.

• Upcycle: Turn trash into gifts they’ll love. Check out DIY Upcycled Handmade Gift Ideas

• Spend time not money: Instead of buying something for someone, do something with them or for them, such as a hike where you provide the lunch; or babysitting so they can go out for an evening where you’ve arranged the activities. If you have the skills, massage, haircut, landscaping, gardening, car repair are all great gifts.


• Put the gift in a reusable shopping bag thereby giving two gifts in one.

Decorate scrap paper, newspaper, grocery bags, or leftover tissue paper with ink or poster paint using cookie-cutters or rubber stamps.

• Use fabric (check out the fabric bins at BRGN) and wrap using Furoshiki techniques (Japanese art of wrapping with fabric) or make some bags/sacks.

Baskets, tins, or boxes that can be reused year after year.


• E-mail invitations, or make a few phone calls.

Avoid disposable and use your own dishes and silver ware. Borrow from friends and family if you don’t have enough. Want a few festive touches, try BRGN and the Dollar Store for inexpensive glassware that can be used year after year. If you end up with items you don’t want to store, donate them to BRGN or save for the July Town wide tag sale.

• If you must have matching dishes or absolutely refuse to deal with them altogether, compostable food ware  is now available at local grocery stores. 

• Make cloth napkins by cutting up holiday fabric with pinking shears or check out what BRGN might have. They generally have their holiday items in one section for easier shopping.

• Save glass jars and other reusable containers and encourage guests to take leftovers.


• E-mail electronic greeting cards. Spend time on the greeting cards, include on-line photo albums etc.

• Buy recyclable and ones that support a local charity. CCCA has a variety of beautiful photography cards by local artists. These are available at Crow’s Bakery in Proctorsville.

• Repurpose greeting cards by cutting them up to make new cards or “to/from” gift tags.

• Recycle by sending them to: St. Jude's Ranch Card Recycling, 100 St. Jude Street, Boulder City, NV 89005. 


·  Trees: According to Post Consumers, real trees support farms and natural eco systems. Buying a real tree isn’t just a “more” eco-friendly decision than using a fake tree, it’s actually a way to actively help the environment and enjoy the aroma/feeling of nature in your home. You’re also helping local farmers, which is always a good thing.

·  Decorations: Most people have tree ornaments that they use year after year. To keep them safe pack them with newspaper, reused packing peanuts, or old clothes.

·  Centerpieces: Use potted plants or evergreen cuttings from your yard, instead of buying cut flowers to make centerpieces. Compost/mulch the greenery after using.

·  Lights: Use LED Christmas Lights, which are up to 90 percent more efficient than their incandescent counterpart. Use a timer so they don’t burn all night and recycle old lights. Remember that both incandescent and LED holiday lights are recyclable.