Go green for last-minute shopping

December 20, 2008


Special to The Herald-Mail

Shopping in the midst of the Christmas rush doesn't have to mean you throw your eco-consciousness into the trash bin. There are simple choices to turn a white Christmas "green."

· Buy local: Choosing locally created artwork and crafts saves gasoline and supports the local economy. Check out handmade crafts at A Touch of Country in downtown Williamsport, where 50 percent of merchandise is local. For fine art, visit the Mansion House Art Gallery in City Park in Hagerstown for prints starting at only $4. Y2Knit in Funkstown sells handmade, knitted items and yarn spun from local farms.

· Explore fair trade: Buying fair-trade products ensures that labor abuses and environmental abuses did not occur in the manufacturing of your gifts. Stop by Ten Thousand Villages north of Hagerstown to buy fair-trade crafts created by artisans from around the world.


· Choose bamboo: Bamboo, a wood-like grass maturing in only five years, is a sustainable resource. Naturally antifungal, antibacterial and with twice the absorbency of cotton, bamboo-based fabric makes luxurious sheets and can be found at many outlets.

· Try pre-owned: Buying "new used" items is essentially recycling. This green choice can yield unique finds. Stop in the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Hagerstown or another second-hand shop for accessories or knickknacks.

· Be creative: Last-minute gifts can still be homemade ones. Homemade gifts communicate love. They are often eco-friendly and, since you make it yourself, use fewer nonrenewable resources to create. One example: Kits for making glycerin soap are available at area craft shops in Hagerstown. These soaps take only a few hours to make.

Green Christmas-shopping choices are quick and easy for the last-minute shopper. Bring a reusable shopping bag, and shop away this week.

With care, you will accomplish your goals, finish the Christmas list and save the planet, all at the same time.

Pamela Palmer, a freelance writer living in Hagerstown, is a green columnist for Women's Online Magazine and a green/simple living contributing writer for the e-zine Suite 101 (at, where she recently was awarded an editor's choice award.

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