This blog post was sponsored by Garnet Hill. As always, the images and words are my own. Any photographs of my son and/or the pups were taken as they interacted happily in their own natural ways. — Whitney Morris
If you’re living in a small space and/or trying to be more environmentally conscious, the holidays can feel a bit like a bit of a trap. The idea of additional, decorative home goods, mounds of gifts, and festive attire can squeeze compact square-footage, while generating unwanted waste— from production, to transport, to (ultimately) removal.
Plus, when you’re in a region similar to ours here in Southern California, the weather doesn’t help you cut corners. If you want it to look and feel like the romantic start of a snowy-white winter season we see in movies, you have to get creative. To all of this I say— why not embrace a green season?
Organic Cotton Utility Trench Coat
Here are a few enjoyable and easy ways to welcome a “greener” winter into your home, wardrobe and gifts.
No room to store oversized decor year-round? You’re not alone.
However, throw pillow covers, strands of lights, minimal garlands, and lightweight linens are tiny-yet-mighty ways to liven up your home for the season— particularly when paired with organic decor, such as potted plants and fresh clippings.
Tea towels and mini or lightweight festive throws and covers can be layered on top of your everyday home goods, adding a touch of warmth and a holiday theme, and can all be folded away in a small, space-saving travel or “vacuum” bag when not in use.
I stash all manner of holiday strands (lights, bunting, etc.) behind our paperback books on the shelves after the season is through.
Lastly, don’t forget to compost or recycle your clippings and other such seasonal greenery per your regions specifications come January 1. (Or even better— opt for potted plants that can take root in your home or garden and become part of the family.
I prefer to gift edible goods and beverages over the holidays, as they take up no space over time, and generate little-to-no waste. But for the rare occasions when I want to gift a more permanent item, I look for eco-friendly, versatile items that can adapt to a myriad of environments and roles.
A simple yet stylish scarf can be worn and put to work in many ways, and can be displayed as functional decor when not in use. A neutral cashmere scarf/wrap, for example, is flexible for numerous wardrobe looks, and can last a lifetime when properly maintained.
Breathable, twisted, two-ply yarns can reduce piling, and prolong lifespan, all while getting softer with age. When gifted in tandem with a favorite beverage, a charitable contribution, or locally-grown specialty produce, a gift such as this can be suited to nearly any recipient. Simple twine and/or reusable produce bags or bread pouches are every bit as beautiful as wrapping paper, but can be used as daily household items again and again.
For our toddler, West: West has finally outgrown the overnight jumpsuits that we relied upon so heavily these past two years (sob!), so we ordered eco-friendly, stretchy-yet-snug, Green Cotton® pajamas for him. For over a quarter of a decade, the makers have upheld strict environmental standards for harvesting, processing, dyeing, and finishing their cotton. (West loves the holiday hedgehog set the most.)
My goal is for this set to last him as long as possible, and then either be handed down to a friend’s child, or kept in case we have a second child.
For my husband, Adam: Adam’s situation is almost identical to mine, though he spends more time with West, and less time at a desk. Since we don’t have want too many items crowding our single, shared closet, he usually wears one of two pairs all day long— so much so that no matter how often we wash them they still seem to maintain a hilarious, lived-in shape. So, as an early holiday gift, I got Adam a long, organic cotton robe, and a pair of plaid pajama pants, which are much cozier for futzing around the Cottage and garden.
For myself: I want to embrace the season with my attire, but I live in sunny SoCal, and I’m always carrying around a child, chasing after the pups, working alone from my home-office, or biking around town. So I need versatile, no-fuss wardrobe staples. Despite the fact that I work from the Cottage, I don’t want to look like a zombie. I find that I’m more confident and more productive when I feel put together. But I never want to spend more than 5 minutes picking out an outfit and getting dressed. (I mean, I found my wedding dress within an hour.)
An organic-cotton plaid shirt in a flattering cut can blend such needs and realities beautifully, and do so without containing harmful pesticides, GMOs, or chemical defoliants. It breathes, it adapts to both warm and cool temperatures, and feels good against your skin all day. It’ll get a lot of mileage this time of year, and that’s the whole point.