With the holiday season in full swing, chances are the last thing on your mind is toxins. But even if you aren’t thinking about them, harmful toxic chemicals are lurking amid your holiday trimmings—from the gifts you wrap to the decorations you hang.
Did you put up a fake tree this year? Beware: many of them contain lead and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Live trees are a better alternative, especially the ones you can replant after the holiday; just make sure they aren’t grown with harmful pesticides!
How about plastic ornaments? Many of them contain phthalates—a group of chemicals used in a wide variety of products (including plastic toys) that may have adverse effects on human health. Phthalates can also be found in scented candles.
And finally, let’s talk toys. Children are especially vulnerable to toxins because their biological systems are still developing, but a lot of toys still contain dangerous chemicals. Quinnipiac University Professor Marcy Sanders recently tested a variety of popular toys for toxins (including lead and cadmium) and found that many did not pass the test.
Opt for Homemade Gifts & Decorations
While studies show we are surrounded by toxins every day in our modern world, it doesn’t mean we can’t take a few simple steps to lessen our exposure—especially around the holidays. Homemade decorations and gifts made of natural materials are a fun and safe way to enjoy the season without the worry of toxins. Here are two easy-to-prepare gift ideas to get you started!
Simple Citrus Sugar Scrub
2 cups white cane sugar
2 cups vegetable glycerin
1 tsp. vitamin C crystals
5 drops orange essential oil
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Massage gently over entire body. Rinse well with warm water. Store remaining scrub in a glass jar for up to two weeks. Keep in a cool, dry place.
Stress-Less Lavender Salt Glow
2 cups fine sea salt
4 cups almond oil
30 drops lavender essential oil
Directions: Place all ingredients in a wide-mouth jar. Mix together. Wet entire body and massage onto skin. Rinse well and towel dry.
Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season!