Sunday, December 21, 2008

Green Christmas

Christmas was my mom’s favorite time of year. And boy, did she go all out! Every part of our house was decorated, from the illuminated deer on the front lawn to the animated Mickey and Minnie Mouse under the tree.

Our presents were wrapped in a multitude of papers that she would buy from my niece and nephew’s school fundraiser every year. And every Christmas morning, the paper was torn off and thrown away.

The artificial tree was draped in hundreds of mini-lights, not LED’s, plugged in 24 hours a day for the entire month of December and probably even some of November!

Our turkey was not free-range, the vegetables not local or organic and we’d drive aimlessly to other neighborhoods looking in awe at their non-LED illumination.

So, our holidays weren’t exactly what you’d call eco-friendly. Back then, green was nothing more than her favorite color.

But going green isn’t just about changing your light bulbs, it’s also about making things better for those around us…being a humanitarian…and for that, my mom was very green!

Our church had a giving tree. A tree that was covered with tags listing things that underprivileged children wanted for Christmas. She would always take a bunch of tags and fill the wants of those special kids.

She would cook for those in need with my niece, who was then only a little girl, teaching her the importance of giving to others.

She took care of her grandchildren when my sister had to work, offered a lending hand when a friend or neighbor needed help, advocated for animals (all of our dogs were rescued) and was active in her church.

Both she and my dad set great examples for me and my sister.

I suspect that if mom were around today, she would absolutely be on board with the green movement. She was always incredibly supportive and open-minded.  She would have had a ball finding new ways to decorate eco-style! I know she would have continued, and probably found even more ways of helping others.

While the holidays leave an open space where she once was, I’m still inspired by her Christmas spirit of giving, which will live on forever.

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