Leading up to the holidays, it’s typical to spend hours driving between large chains and retail stores searching for the perfect gifts. Online shopping has also become a popular alternative for those looking to avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, the additional waste and transportation emissions contribute to our increasing footprint. This year, consider looking for food, drinks, and entertainment in your area to cut back on packaging, shipping fees, and gas.
This November, the Maryland Made program is featuring 28 distilleries to celebrate Spirit Month. These businesses are run by local residents and source materials from within the state of Maryland. Their event calendar includes tastings, tours, festivals, and markets. Embrace the holiday spirit by participating in the festivities and treating someone to a Maryland-made wine or liquor! In partnership with Montgomery County, MISCellaneous Distillery is hosting bulb exchanges throughout the month of December. Attending an LEDs and Libations event is another way to support MoCo businesses, enjoy a drink, and recycle household waste. This program encourages residents to improve energy efficiency in their homes by swapping old CFL and incandescent light bulbs for LEDs.
In addition to bolstering your county’s economy, shopping local reduces excess energy and emissions from transportation while minimizing upstream production waste. Start buying local to consume more responsibly, reduce your impact, and connect with your neighbors during the holidays!
Purchasing from neighborhood vendors is the perfect opportunity to connect with community members, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs while incorporating local culture into your gifts. The Montgomery Food Council’s Food and Beverage Guide highlights county farms and retailers, providing a comprehensive list of local baked goods, honey, crafted beverages, snacks, condiments, etc. Home-cooked meals are another great way to bring people together during these colder winter months. Consider joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or stop by the Montgomery County winter farmer’s market to pick up gifts and seasonal groceries.
Gifting tickets to an event, concert, or exhibit is one of the best ways to minimize wrapping and packaging waste. Attending local productions supports community organizations and provides lasting memories. Check out events like Garden of Lights and Garden After Dark: Holly Daze at Brookside Gardens for a relaxing evening or browse local theaters like the Strathmore, Round House Theatre, and Olney Theatre Center for upcoming musicals, plays and lectures. If you’re looking for something more active, register for a local ActiveMONTGOMERY recreation class this winter! They offer courses for both adults and children including pottery, dance, wellness and cooking. This could be an opportunity to spend time with someone you love and engage with your local community members.
This blog post was written by Natalie Sanford, a volunteer with the Department of Environmental Protection and loves ecology, climate science, and sustainable lifestyle alternatives. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Environmental Science and can be found on LinkedIn.