Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Green Year of the Dragon

Lunar New Year is just around the corner--and it's the year of the dragon! This brings a special oooooh factor to the annual festivities. The dragon is the zodiac symbol of power. Most of the dragons I know have big, sparkling personalities, or convey a quiet strength that you need to respect.

In honor of Lunar New Year, I've offered some tips on how to go green with your New Year's celebration:
  • Reuse those hong bao. The little red envelopes of money you receive from your parents and relatives shouldn't be thrown out--they're too pretty to not reuse. As a general safe rule, if you're a married adult, you should give out hong bao to kids at the celebration. Most adults also receive hong bao from their parents and grandparents (since we're always kids in their mind). $20-50 is considered polite if you can swing it.
  • Spend your money wisely. Lunar New Year is usually a time when younger folks find themselves flush with cash. Encourage smart spending, rather than sending it down the tubes by buying some new tops at H&M. Consider energy efficiency upgrades--they'll save you money! Start a little fund to trade in a clunker for a hybrid. And there's always the college fund.
  • Winter is the time for citrus! When giving oranges, go organic. They may be a bit more expensive but they're so much juicier and sweeter.
  • When doing your New Year's cleaning, use green cleaners wherever possible. They're easy to make, and you won't expose your guests or your family to noxious toxic fumes. Great recipes available at Women's Voices for the Earth's website.
  • If you're planning for a whole fish or seafood at your New Year's feast, find out which species aren't in danger of being overfished at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's website.
  • So you need to look spiffy and wear something new for New Year's. But do you really need another new outfit? Reach out to a friend whose style you admire (and who's the same size as you) and borrow and share clothes. Clothing swaps are a great way to refresh your wardrobe all year round!
  • Make your own New Year's cards. You'll be reviving an old world tradition, and the extra care and thought will be much appreciated.
  • Ok, I really didn't think there was such a thing as green fireworks, but there is! Check this out. I can't really vouch for how green they are, but no matter what fireworks you use, be sure to clean up wrappers so they don't get stuck in gutters and eventually get washed into storm sewers and into bodies of water. Or, opt for a quieter New Year's--the birds and your neighbors will appreciate it!

I hope these tips inspire some of you to go green with your New Year's celebration! 新年快乐!

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