10 Free, Eco-Friendly Things to do While You’re Off Work for the Holidays

Biking via Shutterstock

The halls have been decked, the shopping’s completed, and the year seems to be coming to a mellow close. Perhaps your company has shut down during the holidays. Maybe you’ve decided to stay home since the kids are off school. Or possibly you work for yourself and find that all your customers have disappeared for their own end-of-year break. Whatever the reason, you have time to yourself – yeah! That doesn’t necessarily mean you have money to dine on filet mignon prior to catching a performance of The Nutcracker.

Vacations are meant to be enjoyed. And money-be-damned you’re going to enjoy yourself! You’d think with all the focus on shopping that it would be hard to vacation on the cheap during the holidays, but you’d be wrong! If you’re staying home for the holidays, and looking for free fun with a side of eco-friendliness, look no further!

The Budget Ecoist presents “Have Yourself a Merry Little Free Eco-Friendly Holiday” or “10 Free, Eco-Friendly Things to do While You’re Off Work for the Season”:

Eco-Friendly Activities for the Holiday

1. Jump in leaf piles – It might feel a bit late to be raking leaves (being winter and all) but plenty of people are dealing with piles of leaves on their ground. If you live in a mild climate, and your ground is filled with leaves rather than snow, take care of the chores, have fun and do good for the environment. Simply rake those leaves into piles, go crazy jumping in the piles, and when you’re done, throw them in the compost.

2. Take in the lights – Every town has that place they love to show off to family and friends who visit for the holidays. Whether it is a downtown with the city’s giant, decorated tree, an outside shopping center decked out like Disneyland’s Main Street, or a particular neighborhood where every house seems to sparkle – take in the lights like you were seeing them for the first time. And how is this plethora of lights so eco-friendly? Well, if you’ve been good, converting to LED and paring back on your own usage, consider this your reward. And if your city puts on a big display and has yet to convert to LED, start a campaign by contacting your city council to request they convert to LED.

3. Free Holiday Performances – You may not be able to afford front row seats to The Nutcracker, but there are always free performances going on around the holidays. Ask your local theaters if they offer free seats to dress rehearsals, look for opportunities to win tickets in your local newspaper, and be on the lookout for free “side performances” such as a Christmas Caroling Troupe performing in public on certain dates. Ride your bike or walk to the event.

4. Go on a bike ride or cross-country ski – If you live in a mellow climate, enjoy a leisurely bike ride through town or explore new bike trails. If you live in the snow, try cross-country skiing. Both offer much needed opportunities to work off those holiday treats.

5. Plan your spring garden – If you’ve always wanted to start a garden, now is the time to start planning. Survey your plot and decide if you’ll be making a raised bed, turning a patch of grass into a garden, or growing your herbs and veggies in pots. Once you’ve made the location decision you can prepare by gathering supplies: Be on the lookout for free non-treated wood; gather mulch for turning grass into gardening soil, and acquire pots for planting herbs and veggies. Research what grows best in your climate.