Out Of The Bag: The Holidays Can Be Black and Gold and Green, Too!

Make your holiday black and gold and green.

A few quick ways to celebrate the holidays with Pittsburgh flair.


  • Wendell August Forge and the Pittsburgh Penguins have teamed up again to produce a commemorative ornament from the roof of the former Civic Arena. This ornament honors the Stanley Cup legend in Pittsburgh. A great gift idea that honors multiple traditions.
  • Construction Junction can recycle your Christmas lights. Don't throw them away if they don't work. Wrap them up, toss them in a tote bag and take them with you on your next trip to Point Breeze. Leave the tote, too.
  • Buy a local tree. From the Urban Gardener to regional farmers, you can find a tree that's perfect for your home and keep your dollars local. Ask your neighbors, check your patch.com site or use Google. 
  • Green your gift wrap. American generate 5 millions tons of waste during the holiday season. The estimate is that we cut down 30 million trees to wrap our gifts. So consider a tote bag.There are many gorgeous bags you can purchase as wrapping AND an additional gift. Consider browsing Handmade Arcade this Saturday. Shop Etsy. Stop by a local crafting store. Or support a local business your recipient values. Or why not ask everyone to pitch in - bring your gifts in bags with festive bows & such, then gather up the bags to transport items home and donate to your neighbors?
  • Green gifts. Here's a list of retailers in Pgh that carry green items. 
  • Gift cards. Consider electronic gift cards. (I would love if someone reloaded my Starbucks card!)
  • You can find many suggestions for green decorating at Earth911.com
  • Some general advice about "prepping" your packages and gifts to be greener when it all comes undone (Hint: use less tape)


In short, some advance planning to reduce our "stuff" use (less tape, less waste) and keeping our dollars local is a way to make the holidays black and gold and green.

What suggestion do you have?


The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project collects new and gently used tote bags for distribution to the region's food pantries. We are a project of the Thomas Merton Center. Visit our website for a list of permanent drop-off spots, information on how to organize your own tote bag drive and details on our partnerships with corporations and promotional products items. You can also follow us on Twitter@Tote4Pgh and Facebook.com/Tote4pgh

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NE12Ukid December 08, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Since we cut back on numer of gifts, I'm just using up large rolls of wrapping paper that were bought several years ago on sale. Probably will have some left for next year too. The key is storing these "leftovers" where you can easily find them so you don't go out and buy MORE! :-)
NE12Ukid December 09, 2012 at 01:39 AM
* number, not numer. Happy Christmas All.
Margaret French December 09, 2012 at 05:26 AM
NE12Ukid you talk of cc and say you do not contradict yourself but in the poll about how much will you spend this Christmas you wrote: Have you trimmed your spending because of the economy or has good fortune enabled you to spend more? I am happily able to spend more this year. A few new decorations, a bit more in cash for the college students in the family, and one big ticket item for us! Now you say you are cutting back. Which is it? or don't you remember? I remember my mother always saying "a liar has to have a good memory." So true.
NE12Ukid December 09, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Judge Judy says the same thing, so what? Are you calling me a liar? You'd better have proof, as you have none shown here. Yes, I am happily spending more this year. Yes, I said that. It's a true statement. And Yes, we have cut down on the NUMBER of gifts. I also said that, it's right in this thread. Also true. that is not a contradiction, "Margaret". What did your mother say about calling someone a liar when they did not lie? Doesn't such a false accusation make you a liar? Apology in order, MARGARET!!! How are YOU handling the gift wrapping this year? Any environmentally kind changes in YOUR habits, Margaret? Tried the tote bag ideas yet?


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