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A White Christmas

/ Post by Erica Wills of Polar Bears International 

Singing Bing Crosby’s “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” at some point during the holiday season is a must, even if you are guaranteed to not have any snow! The polar bears are lucky to have a white Christmas every year without fail. Right now, it’s 5°F / -15°C, and the bears are loving it. The onslaught of snow and ice means they can each fill their bellies like big bowlfuls of jelly, and the mommas who are waiting to give birth to their cub (or hopefully cubs!) will stay snug and warm in their dens.

The holiday season never fails to bring out the best in people. Even when the world seems filled with frightening things, there is always someone ready to offer a helping hand to those in need. During this time of giving, I ask that you think about acting in such a way that not only helps your neighbors, friends, and strangers you’ve never met, but that also helps our environment — especially the polar bears.

Instead of spending money to buy new wrapping paper, you can create a festive, kaleidoscopic  effect by using the bits and pieces of differently patterned paper — the scraps that inevitably get thrown away or recycled after you’ve wrapped a package. You can also use newspaper, magazines, or — best of all — tissue paper and a reusable bag: two gifts in one! The money you save can then be donated to a soup kitchen, children’s center, or any wildlife conservation organization.

You can lower your carbon footprint by purchasing locally-made gifts. Not only will you be supporting local businesses, but the gift itself will have had less of an environmental impact because it didn’t have to travel as far to get under your tree. Another great gift idea is to adopt an animal — both symbolically and in reality! There are lots of dogs and cats looking for a warm, loving home this Christmas, and they’d be delighted to pop out of a box and surprise your chosen recipient on Christmas morning.

Symbolically, you can adopt practically any animal you can think of from the World Wildlife Fund: the African Elephant, Beluga Whale, Clown Fish, Emerald Hummingbird, Gray Wolf, Komodo Dragon, Meerkat, Red Panda, Stingray, Toucan, and Wombat are all possible species you could help save, along with 100 others on WWF’s website. My favorite, of course, is to adopt a polar bear with Polar Bears International. Whatever animal you help, though, is a fantastic way to give a gift that keeps on giving.

Wherever you are this holiday season, may you be snug and warm with a full belly, just like the polar bears are (finally) able to be up north!