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Green Gift Monday

Ah, the holiday season. A simple time to reconnect with family and friends and refresh for the coming year ahead...right? If only we were so lucky. For a lot of people, the holidays mean crowded stores, expensive gifts and loads of stress. In fact, the average American spends about $700 on holiday gifts.

Even the Earth feels the stress of the holiday season. Every year between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, the United States creates more than 5 million extra tons of trash. That's a lot of perfectly curled ribbons and expertly taped wrapping gone to waste.

But there's hope. This year, consider breaking the cycle. Starting on Nov. 28, help us celebrate Green Gift Monday. To get you started, here are four ways you can make your gifts a little greener, your impact a little lighter - and your holidays brighter than ever!

1. Don't go it alone... Celebrate green gifts with us!

Celebrate Green Gift Monday with the Young Professionals Group! On Dec. 5, join us a for a shopping party at Sustainable NYC, where you can find local, organic, Fair Trade, recycled, re-purposed, biodegradable, alternative energy products and gifts. Enjoy refreshments, exclusive for YPG members and their friends during the evening! RSVP to ypgevents@tnc.org to ensure your spot.

2. Skip the crowded mall... Do it yourself!

Find a simple Do-It-Yourself project--like a handmade card or simple cloth napkins--and make one for everyone on your list. Turning your annual shopping day to your annual holiday crafting day is not only way more personal, it's also way lighter on the packaging waste that goes along with most gifts. Have a great DIY project? Tell us about it on Facebook.

3. Don't sweat finding the latest gadget... Give an experience instead!

Give an experience gift like cooking classes, a kayaking adventure, or an annual membership to a New York arboretum or state park instead. Check out our upcoming events to find great hikes and lectures throughout New York, or look into giving the person you love a membership to our fabulous Young Professionals Group!

4. Save money on wrapping paper... Get creative with packages!

Instead of newly purchased wrapping paper try using old newspaper and magazine pages or incorporate part of the gift into the wrapping – wrap a jar of jam in a decorative dish towel or a pair of earrings in a vintage handkerchief.

5. Forget thawing the turkey... Keep the ingredients local!

Bypass the freezer section on your next trip to the supermarket, and spend most of your time in the veggie aisle. Filling your table with fresh, local ingredients is easier (no thawing necessary), tastier and better for the planet. Get more information on a sustainable holiday dinner from Conservancy expert Nate Woiwode, who appeared on NY1 last year.

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