How do you celebrate sustainability with kids? When my daughter was little holidays tended to be a bit trashy. Candy and cards for sure. Little plastic gewgaws. Things that held a brief interest but quickly became trash.
The past few years I've been a bit anti-holiday. I'm beginning to realize one can try for balance. Holidays break life up, provide an excuse for a treat or indulgence, allow us to spend time with family or friends. If you want to celebrate any holiday more sustainably you need to give yourself plenty of time, firm boundaries and a dose of forgiveness if things don't go your way. If you've been doing elaborate Valentine celebrations, start by scaling back not going cold turkey.
If I had little ones now I would invest in quality holiday recipes, decorations and books as well as a storage box. A week or two before any holiday pulling out the box would be exciting and create the best memories. It's the love you feel for your Christmas stocking. The box which doesn't have to be big can hold books, decorations, special items related to the holiday. which you can enjoy and savor once a year. For me, this is a way to build traditions, memories and an easy way to zero waste any holiday.
Food and holidays go together. Focusing on treats is an easy way to cut down on waste. Stay out of the seasonal aisle in the grocery store. A lot of food packaging for the holidays can be avoided. One of my favorite sites for Valentine food inspiration is Forkly. All the recipes sound delicious, healthy and not too difficult. Start the morning off with pancakes, you have a choice of chocolate paleo, banana oatmeal or red beet pancakes. Snack on some Clementines dipped in dark chocolate and end the day with a heart shaped pizza.
The idea I loved the most was turning oranges into conversation hearts. Write a cute "love ya" message or just draw a smiley face. On Pinterest I saw the same idea but on bananas. Any fruit that you peel works. This is a fun, very low waste family activity. It's a great, edible, healthy, low waste Valentine for classmates.
Many holiday decorations are trashy and not made to last beyond the holiday. That's one reason I love buntings and banners. They are cheerful, festive, you can hang them anywhere and easy to store.
You can buy bunting from a maker and that's a great way to spread the love and vote with your money. Or you can DIY your bunting. If you sew bunting is a easy project. Go ahead and be flexible and creative with your material. Felt, burlap, old clothes, scraps...... With young kids paper is the best choice. Old art can be repurposed into bunting. Pages from magazines, papers from schools and old torn book. Reuse paper before you recycle. Here a two websites to get your creative juices flowing- Yes We Made This has 10 Creative DIY Paper Garland Ideas and and Picklebum has a post on Kid Made Bunting which is super easy.
Favorite books also make every holiday special. Older kids enjoy the occasional reread of their favorite story from years past. Books make great gifts, books last longer than chocolate or candy and used books keep the love going . If you're lucky enough to have a book store in your town, they are sure to have some recommendations and great picks. The Today Show has a list of recently published books that cover the many aspects of love.
Time can be the hardest thing to manage. Start small. This year decide on one sustainable change. No trashy foods. Set aside some time to prepare and cook. DIY some decorations on a cold, winter day when everyone has cabin fever. Go book shopping as a family and pick out the one great book to celebrate the day. Don't expect perfection and love the progress you made.