8 Greening Tips for the 8 Nights of Chanukah

Our monthly blog, edited by Dayenu (climate action and environmental justice) Circle members Chris Wynn and Sharon Smaller,  will give you ideas, information, resources, and things you can do to make this world a better place environmentally, tikkun olam. As a community, we can learn from each other, so we welcome your ideas and questions. Please share with us your successes in your endeavors to “go green.”

As we enter into the gathering and gifting time of year, we wanted to give you some tips about ways to “live a little more green and save a little green” while you celebrate.

  1. Buy and use reusable shopping bags while shopping for food and gifts.
  2. Looking for presents? Give reusable water bottles, commuter coffee mugs, and everyday cloth napkins.
  3. Gift experiences- not stuff: Museum or zoo memberships, concerts and sporting events tickets, guitar/piano/ukelele lessons, sewing and crochet/knitting lessons, tennis/pickleball coaching, cooking classes, and gift certificates to favorite restaurants.
  4. Buy local or fair trade or small businesses: 
    • Indoor farmers markets: Immanuel Lutheran Church in Evanston has one coming up on 12/17 and throughout the winter alternates sites with the Evanston Ecology Center.
    • Independent bookstores (check out these two local Evanston picks)
    • Ten Thousand Villages or other nonprofit fair trade shops
    • Looking to send someone a bouquet? Check out Southside Blooms
    • Know someone who is searching for the perfect purse? Browse Grumpy Bags. This is a local company that uses reclaimed materials such as upholstery swatches for their one-of-a-kind purses and bags.
  5. Reuse: One of our big three (reduce, reuse, recycle). There are many great places that offer items that have been donated and are like new. In all of these cases, the purchase you make will go toward supporting good causes.
    • At the Wilmette Library, “Books Down Under” sells books for $1-$5 and features an amazing selection, including coffee table books, CDs, DVDs, and a great children’s section.
    • The Watershed in Evanston features a huge array of arts and crafts supplies and much of it is brand new.
    • Check out the Rebuilding Warehouse next door to The Watershed
    • Thrift and consignment stores have some unique items and there are an abundance of them nearby. You probably have your favorites!
  6. Wrap Gifts Sustainably: You can decorate craft paper, use old maps and newspapers, especially the ever-handy comics, tie colorful scarves and bandanas, and reuse those gift bags! When you buy gift wrap, look for recyclable wrapping paper and avoid foil, glitter or metallic papers (since they are not recyclable).
  7. Host a Zero-Waste Chanukah Gathering: Set out cloth napkins and washable dishes and utensils, rather than single-use plastic, and wrap your gifts sustainably (noted above) whenever possible.
  8. Designate One Night as Gifts to the Earth. Send a donation to an organization that supports fighting climate change e.g. Dayenu, Citizens Climate Lobby, Jewish Earth Alliance. Sign a petition or email a corporation. For example, write a letter to your legislators supporting the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act. 


Above all, celebrate Chanukah in an earth-friendly way! Happy Chanukah!