Are you concerned about your carbon footprint and considering solar panels to power your property? Are you wondering if this environmentally friendly solution is cost-effective? Here are some things to consider.
In recent years, photovoltaic panels have become increasingly affordable. However, depending on how much you spend upfront, it can take 15, 20, or even 30 years of reduced energy bills to make back your initial investment.
The profitability of your solar panel setup depends on several factors, including where they’re installed and how they’re positioned. Solar panels can turn one kilowatt of power into approximately 1,200 kilowatt-hours of electricity in ideal conditions. You can use an online calculator to estimate how long it would take to get your money’s worth.
On top of saving money over several years, using solar panels helps offset the demand for energy during winter. It also ensures you have power even if there’s an outage.
If you want to find out if solar panels are right for you, contact an engineer or solar energy supplier in your area.
Useful gifts for practical people
If you’re not sure what to buy your loved ones for Christmas, you may want to consider giving them something practical. Here are a few ideas to inspire you.
• A gas station gift card
• A firewood sling
• Reusable containers, food wrap, or sandwich bags
• A set of quality bed sheets
• A portable cell phone charger
• A bathtub tray
• A gardening tote
• Heated gloves
• A bike repair kit
• Car storage accessories like a trunk or seat organizer
• Compact camping dishes such as a pot with a folding handle
• Warm socks
Visit your local retailers to find a host of gifts that will make your loved ones’ lives easier.
12 advantages buying local for the holidays
1. To help protect the planet
Buying local is the eco-friendly way to shop for the holidays. When you opt for items produced and sold nearby, you help reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions created when goods are shipped. The need for excess packaging is also eliminated. This Christmas, help protect the environment by buying locally crafted presents, decorations, food, and more.
2. To get superb service
If you want personalized recommendations, information about specific items, or gift ideas for someone with unusual interests, your local merchants can help. These people typically have a passion for the goods and services they offer. Consequently, they’re committed to providing exceptional customer service. Plus, you can count on them for streamlined after-sale service.
3. To enjoy delicious food
When it comes to making a great meal, nothing beats local foods. Keep it close to home by choosing bread, cheeses, wines, meats, and vegetables produced in your region. Whether you’re making an elaborate feast or preparing a simple dish, put fresh, local ingredients on the menu. Your holiday guests will thank you, and so will your tastebuds.
4. To find unique gifts
Are you looking for the perfect present? Whether you’re searching for a practical, decorative, or gourmet gift, you can’t go wrong if you select goods and services provided by the artists, artisans, and small businesses in your area. Find original art pieces, handcrafted items, and unique experiences to pamper the people you love most.
5. To reduce stress
The drama-free way to gather everything you need for the holidays is to shop locally. You’re sure to find the clothes, toys, games, ornaments, cooking supplies, and greeting cards on your list in record time. Plus, making your Christmas purchases locally will eliminate the hassle of delivery delays.
6. To stimulate the economy
A booming local economy helps create a thriving community. You can do your part to sustain your region simply by buying locally. If you do, you’ll contribute to the success of established businesses, enabling them to grow and create more jobs. In turn, this will attract new merchants and entrepreneurs to your area. When you shop locally, everyone wins.
7. To make pleasant discoveries
How well do you know your region? If you explore what your community has to offer, you’ll likely stumble on treasures you never knew were there. Imagine discovering handcrafted jewelry, artisanal chocolates, or a pleasant eatery to spend the afternoon in your backyard! Who knows, you may even find a great park, gallery, gym, or other new venues to haunt.
8. To energize your community
Over the holidays, many communities host an assortment of Christmas events and activities. You’ll likely be able to enjoy attending a tree lighting, nativity play, holiday market, or Christmas concert. Participating in these types of events is a great way to support your local organizations
and businesses. It’s how you help create a vibrant local culture.
9. To free up more time
If you visit the shops, restaurants, concert halls, and museums that are close to home rather than heading out of town, you can save time in your busy schedule. With the extra minutes or hours you gain, you may be able to fit in another activity or simply find more time to relax and unwind.
10. To save money
Frequenting the businesses in your area is a great way to save on gas and other driving-related expenses. This is especially the case if you can walk to your destination. You won’t even have to pay for parking. You could see significant savings depending on how often you tend to make these outings.
11. To procure quality products
Locally crafted goods tend to be better made than mass-produced items manufactured overseas. Consequently, they’re likely to be more durable. If you keep these items for a long time, you’ll save in the long term. Plus, the working conditions for the people producing the goods are more likely to be fair.
12. To create a sense of belonging
If you want to call your region home, simply living there is not enough. You must get to know your area, find spots you love to frequent, and establish a routine. To engage with your community and feel connected to your corner of the world, participate in local events, and support your region’s businesses.
How to throw a hassle-free holiday brunch
Are you planning to host Christmas brunch this year? If so, here are a few ways to ensure the event goes off without a hitch.
Start prepping the day before
Avoid making everything you need the morning of your brunch by doing some setup the night before. You could wash, cut, and plate fresh fruit and prepare whipped cream and custards ahead of time. If you want to serve an easy dish that can be portioned out the day before, consider putting together small bowls of yogurt and berries with granola.
Opt for fresh-baked goods
Visit your local bakery for bread, croissants, muffins, and bagels to accompany your meal. Purchase a batch made the morning of your event, or ask about frozen, ready-to-bake products. If the business has a tempting specialty, don’t hesitate to add it to your menu.
Offer a variety of beverages
Spice up your brunch by serving mimosas, Bellinis, sparkling cider, or white wine. You can also offer your guests coffee flavored with a variety of liqueurs. For kids, hot chocolate and fresh fruit juice are great choices.
Finally, be sure to decorate your table with festive accessories the day before your event.
Six ways to prioritize buying local during the holidays
The holiday season is an ideal time to support the businesses in your region. Here are six ways to make buying local a part of your Christmas celebrations.
1. Gift giving
If you plan to participate in a holiday gift exchange with your friends or family members, take this opportunity to introduce them to local merchants. For example, regionally made body care products, handcrafted jewelry, and artisanal foods make great gifts.
2. Alcoholic beverages
Alcoholic beverages and the holiday season go hand in hand. This year, serve beers brewed in your region, wines made at a local vineyard, and spirits distilled nearby. To add to the fun and sample an assortment of products, consider organizing a tasting event at your next holiday party.
3. Personal wellness products
Entice your guests to buy local products themselves by placing a handmade bar of soap in the bathroom, lighting locally crafted candles, or providing an all-natural hand cream to relieve dry hands.
If you’re whipping up a homemade meal for your holiday guests, plan your menu around seasonal and local products. If you’d rather take a break from cooking, hire a caterer who uses regional goods. Don’t forget to purchase dessert from a nearby pastry shop or bakery.
Create head-turning holiday ensembles by shopping at local clothing stores. Shirts, dresses, pants, and accessories come in many stylish and comfortable options.
Spruce up your holiday decor with unique, locally crafted items. Wreaths, vases, sculptures, and other handmade treasures are sure to infuse your home or office with the Christmas spirit.
This holiday season, be sure to boost your community’s economy by supporting your local businesses.
How to decorate the outside of your home for Christmas
If you want to decorate the outside of your home for the holiday season but aren’t sure where to begin, here are some ways to get started.
Decorate your trees
Whether you have lush evergreens or bare deciduous trees in your yard, you can dress them up for the Christmas season with ornaments or outdoor string lights.
Put up a Christmas wreath
Make a wreath or buy one from a local artisan. Hang it on your front door or lean it against a nearby wall to create a welcoming entranceway.
Embellish your stairway
If you have sufficient space, place one or more ornate flowerpots, lanterns, nutcrackers, or other decorative elements at the top or bottom of your stairway. Wrap your railing in a garland for a festive flair.
Fill vacant spaces
You can set up decorative structures if you have a large front yard. Inflatable figures and lighted characters will help bring holiday cheer to your home.
For more inspiration and to find great decorations, visit your local retailers.
How to care for bathroom plants
If your bathroom has a lot of natural light, giving it a touch of green with plants suited to a damp environment can be fun. Here are some tips to ensure they thrive.
Account for ventilation
Since bathrooms are humid, you need to consider air circulation as you decide on plant placement. If the room isn’t well-ventilated, some species may add to the humidity and cause mold and mildew to grow.
Opt for plants that dehumidify the air, such as ivy or orchids. Tillandsia is also a lovely choice. Commonly known as air plants, these beauties don’t require soil and can be displayed as a hanging arrangement or in a glass jar.
Evaluate your available space
If your bathroom is relatively large, you have a lot of freedom to choose your plants and can mix things up with a variety of species and sizes. If your space is limited, however, you should choose small plants that can be suspended or placed on a windowsill. Consider buying a spider plant, dwarf fig tree, or pothos.
The secret to keeping a plant healthy is to provide it with the correct doses of sunlight, water, and warmth. When you visit your local garden center, determine the needs of the species you like before bringing it home.