3 Lifestyle Shifts for a Simpler, Sweeter, Healthier Holiday

Jess Root/via
Like a lotus, I emerge from each holiday season anew.

I haven't mastered the art of holiday stress less-ness but I can say every year gets a little bit easier. This year -- and those moving forward -- I've made a resolve to let change transform the season so that the next one never feels the same, but closer and closer to sustainable for both me, and the planet. When I feel better, more responsible and fulfilled I tend to be more present for those around me. That is the best present of all, right? All it takes is a little bit of...

1. Planning. Just like we can't build a green city without preparation, we can't expect a sustainable holiday complete with low-impact transport without a little forward thinking. This year I'm taking the commuter train home to CT and staying there until it's back to business on the 26th. We won't be renting a car to also hit my guy's family as we have done in the past, driving on Christmas Day and exhausting ourselves-- let alone, letting out extra carbon emissions. Next year, we're with his family. I'll have to make arrangements with mine to spend time with them on a different date.

2. Smart gift giving. I love meaningful gifts. If I haven't spotted something that screams a family member or friend, their gift will be delayed. I can't do the impulsive gift buying thing. I love our planet -- and my people -- too much to give them something sub-par. Sorry guys, but I love you!

3. Putting quality time and health first. Life's short-- no need to shorten it further. I also don't want to remember Christmas buried in a flurry of gift wrap without memories to speak of. This year I want Santa to deliver stories and good ones at that. So I'm crafting a Christmas Eve dinner for mom, step-dad, BF, bestie and her mom. I'm even taking winter classics like roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies and lightening them up a bit using recipes that aren't heavy on butter and choosing a satisfyingly sweet spiked apple cider (light and low in saturated fat) for dessert that will help keep us all healthy for future celebrations. More than anything it will be an evening embellished with family cooking, good company and cheer.

I love tradition but not for tradition's sake, and absolutely never when it compromises sustainability, personal happiness and health. Others might disagree. Hell, they may even want to sabotage my awesome lifestyle changes. But as Kevin McCallister (ie, Macaulay Culkin) says, "This is my house, I have to defend it." (Yup, I totally just quoted Home Alone.)

What's yours? Will you transform it for the better this or next year?

Happy Holidays!

More on Green Holidays:
Green Gift Guide 2011
11 Best Holiday Movies and Their Subtle Green Messages (Slideshow)
10 Gorgeous Green Alternatives to Holiday Wrapping Paper (Slideshow)

Tags: Cooking | Gift Guides | Gifts | Holidays

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