A Few of Our Favorite Things

by Amy Ford

We are now into full swing of the holiday season! This is one of our favorite times of the year. As hustling and bustling as the holidays can be, there is also much to enjoy and embrace. Our list of favorite things to do this time of year can be lengthy, but here are a few of our top favorites!

 1)      Stringing up the lights! Getting our Christmas tree is one favorite traditions as a family. We always get ours the weekend following Thanksgiving. We put on one of our many favorite Christmas movies and pull out all the decorations and make it a festive evening in.

2)      A brisk hike through the leaf filled or snow filled trails, sled-riding, ice-skating, building a snowman or snow fort; the weather doesn’t stop us from getting outdoors! There is so much fun, beauty, and peacefulness this time of year and getting out into nature is a great way to step away from all the “to do’s” that seem daunting and have a little childhood, family fun!

3)      All the Goodies! The holidays bring fantastic foods and desserts and we love to be able to spend time in our kitchens cooking and baking up all the goodies we can think of. From molasses cookies to mashed potatoes and stuffing, there is nothing more comforting than being able to share in togetherness when gathered in the kitchen and around the table.

4)      Getting crafty! There are so many ways to spread holiday cheer and thoughtfulness through something that is handmade. From designing the cards to send out to making gingerbread houses, getting creative is one of our all-time favorite holiday things. One of our traditional handmade holiday gifts is candied peanuts, pecans, and cashews. Put them in a mason jar with some ribbon and it will be a gift that will be greatly enjoyed.

5)      Movie night! Break out the dvds and pop some popcorn, because holiday movie night is so much fun! We love all the classics from a It’s a Wonderful Life to White Christmas, the traditional National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation to A Christmas Story, to the animated Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown to Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas. Our holiday movie list is plentiful!

6)      Tree lighting ceremonies or decoration drive by. We love all the Christmas lights and decorations! In our small town, we have a special place called Candy Cane Lane where the houses are decorated from top to bottom. You can walk the sidewalks or drive the street. This has been a tradition since we have been children and we get to continue it with our own. It’s so much fun to see decorations that are still there from our childhood to the newer set to music ones!

7)      Holiday parties! Decking out in holiday gear and spreading some holiday cheer with friends and family is a must. Getting together with friends and family, sharing in good conversation, good food, and holiday music has a magical feeling all in itself. We think coming together is one of the best things about the holidays. One tradition we do as a family is have a chili get together after Thanksgiving. A big pot of hearty chili to share with friends and family is great way to transition into the Christmas season.

8)      Reading all the different holiday stories together or making up our own. Our favorite story to read is The Polar Express. No matter the age, it is a story that fills our hearts with hope and faith and inspires us to remember to believe. Other fun story ideas is to have everyone make up their own and tell it as you sip on hot cocoa and eat yummy cookies or have a fun round of Holiday Mad Libs and have some fun giggles to go with it!

9)      Taking a day trip! Where do you like to travel to see holiday cheer? A top day trip on our list is to head to NYC to see the ice skaters and the big Christmas tree all lit up! It doesn’t have to be an expensive adventure. It could just be walking the streets of nearby towns and checking out all the decorations and lights. It could be a day trip to go see a holiday show at a local community theatre or to see an orchestra play. Whatever it is, it is always nice to get outdoors and explore different holiday offerings that surround you!

10)   Play Santa! Get your family and children in the holiday spirit by allowing them to play Santa for someone in need. Whether it be an elderly neighbor, a donation to a shelter or school, or sending gifts to a local children’s hospital; we like having our children understand the importance of giving. It’s even more fun to allow them to be Santa and choose what to donate or make. This is a great tradition to start to keep with them and continue with as they grow.

 A top few of our favorite things; what are yours? Whatever it is you do through the holidays, may you find joy and comfort, may you smile and laugh often, and may you find love and togetherness. Enjoy the moment, be present, and sing with a heart full of gratitude!



By Corey Breneisen

This week is Zero Waste Week. So what does that mean exactly? It’s a week to consider making lifestyle changes to minimize your impact on the environment, and bring yourself into alignment with Nature. In this age of social media overload, there can be a lot of pressure to “do it right”, to have the “right tools”, the “right products”. In reality, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to live a Zero Waste Lifestyle. There are only positive effects from your efforts to make more conscious and informed consumer decisions. I recently saw a post on social media expressing this. It said, “We don’t need a handful of people doing Zero Waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

Here are 3 ways for you to begin your Zero Waste Journey:

  1. Stop Before you Shop: Ask yourself if this is a purchase you really need to be making. In a week, will it still be valuable to you? Does it serve multiple purposes? Will your life be improved by possessing this item? Is it something that requires maintenance? Can you afford the maintenance costs? What is it made of? Is there an alternative made from more renewable materials? How is it packaged? Is there an alternative with less packaging available? Taking a moment to ask yourself these questions decreases the number of impulse buys thereby reducing the amount of stuff produced which saves on resources.

  2. Remember your Shopping Bags: This includes produce bags as well as jars or bottles if shopping in bulk. Glass is an amazing material. It’s infinitely recyclable. So put those spaghetti sauce jars to use. Clean them and then take them to market to refill your granola stash. We often think of reusable totes and market bags when grocery shopping, but take them when you go clothes shopping too!

  3. Free-Cycle: If you find you have items in your house you no longer have use for, ask your neighbors to make a trade. They may need a new toaster oven meanwhile, you just cleared space on your counter and now can use your two slice toaster guilt-free. The trade may inspire them to look around their homes and offer you a much needed yard rake. Not only are you building community, but you are keeping items out of landfills and reducing waste.

There are many ways to begin a Zero Waste Lifestyle. It doesn’t matter how you do it, it only matters that you do it.

Need more tips for Zero Waste Living? Check out our Green Services.