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Winter Solstice: Cold-Weather Green Activities To Enjoy This Season

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/21/11 04:00 PM ET   Updated: 12/21/11 04:02 PM ET

As the winter solstice kicks off a new season on December 22, it's time to pull out those attractive puffy winter jackets and look forward to a snow day. Winter is upon us.

In celebration of the winter solstice, we've put together some fun activities for this season.

There's a lot to love about these chilly winter months -- an excuse to curl up inside and read a book all weekend, eat yummy warm foods, and head to the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding.

Earlier this year, a panel with the Union of Concerned Scientists found that heavy snowfalls could be linked to more moisture in the air due to global climate change. Reuters reported, "This extra moisture is likely to bring on extraordinary flooding with the onset of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, as deep snowpack melts and expected heavy rains add to seasonal run-off, the scientists said in a telephone briefing."

Better start embracing snowy activities. Better yet, embrace green ones that are less damaging to the environment.

What's your favorite winter activity or tradition? And do you have some tips for making it more eco-friendly? List your suggestions in the comments below. Check out a list of some of our favorite green (or greener) winter activities:

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  • Build A Snowman

    Save up your <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/12/reuse-fruit-and-vegetable_1_n_781139.html#s177960&title=Seedling_pots" target="_hplink">fruit and veggie scraps</a> during the winter season to create the coolest snowman on the block. Get creative and choose eco-friendly options like rocks or bark instead of coal for Frosty's eyes. Or, go really material-free and decorate your yard with snow angels -- you only need your body for that! <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bolonski/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:jasonbolonski</a></em>

  • Sip Hot Cocoa

    What better excuse to curl up on the couch and sip hot cocoa than a wintry January day? Make sure you're using <a href="http://www.equalexchange.coop/cocoa" target="_hplink">organic, fair trade chocolate</a> in your mug and accompany it with something other than a marshmallow, which are made out of gelatin (boiled animal bones). We suggest <a href="http://www.sweetandsara.com/" target="_hplink">vegan marshmallows</a> that can even be found in cool winter shapes. <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:stevendepolo</a></em>

  • Sledding

    Ditch the gas-guzzling snowmobile or car and hit the slopes for a fun day of sledding. <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/wooden-sled-for-winter-fun.html" target="_hplink">Arguably</a>, wooden sleds are better than plastic ones. Or, do some recycling and <a href="http://planetgreen.discovery.com/travel-outdoors/create-sled-safely.html" target="_hplink">make your own!</a> <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/edenpictures/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:edenpictures</a></em>

  • Snowball Fight

    Get outside this winter for some free, green fun. Grab your friends and neighbors and embrace the season with a snowball fight! If you want to get serious about building a fort, you can follow<a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Snow-Fort" target="_hplink"> instructions</a>, otherwise you can make up the rules and play until the sun comes out! <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lazurite/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:Lazurite.</a></em>

  • Warm Blankets

    A cold winter day is the best excuse to laze around and cuddle up inside. Stay warm and green inside -- all weekend if you want -- with an organic cotton throw or real wool blankets. <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/perempuan/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:perempuan</a></em>

  • Read A Book

    Turn of your cell phone, computer and television and curl up on the couch with a good book. Check out the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/09/publishers-weekly-bestsellers_n_1138768.html?ref=bestsellers" target="_hplink"> HuffPost Books page</a> for ideas or <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/overview.html" target="_hplink">The New York Times Best Seller List</a>. Even better, why not hit your local library and check out some books on ways to go green in 2012. <a href="http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/blogs/best-green-and-environmental-books-of-2011" target="_hplink">Mother Nature Network has a good selection</a> of environmental books to give you a starting point. <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/slightlyeverything/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:slightly everything</a></em>

  • Wood Fire

    Many families would agree there's nothing better than spending a night sitting around a burning wood stove. Compared to their oil and gas counterparts however, they can cause a bit of stir in the environmental community. Stoves built before the 1990s are generally inefficient and the <a href="http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/" target="_hplink">US Environmental Protection Agency suggests</a> replacing yours with a newer version or a more energy efficient appliance. <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ken_mayer/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:Ken_Mayer</a></em>

  • Ice Skating

    Get outside and hit a (fully frozen) lake or ice skating rink with family or friends. Not only is it great exercise but all you need is a pair of skates to be on your way. <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivanwalsh/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:IvanWalsh.com</a></em>

  • Skiing

    With <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/climate-change/" target="_hplink">evidence that the globe is warming </a>and ski resorts needing snow for business, many are taking initiatives to go green. If you're one to hit the slopes in winter, why not do a bit of research on which resorts are taking the leap to become more environmentally friendly. Check out <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/htgg/how-to-go-green-skiing-snowboarding.html" target="_hplink">TreeHugger</a> to get some eco-friendly skiing and snowboarding tips. <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/skistarsalen/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:SkiStar Salen</a></em>

  • Games

    If it is too cold outside to have a snow fight or go ice skating, invite everyone indoors for some old-fashioned board game fun. Stay entertained with fun and new games that take an eco-friendly twist, like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Late-for-the-Sky-4102553/dp/B0013VOGFA" target="_hplink">Earthopoly</a>. Or look to <a href="http://greenboardgames.com/" target="_hplink">The Green Board Game Company for ideas. </a> <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bombardier/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:Bombardier</a></em>

  • Bundle Up

    Bundle up this winter in organic clothes, or get creative and learn how to knit or sew your own. And if you want to go cruelty-free this winter you can also <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/20/eco-friendly-winter-gear_n_428211.html" target="_hplink">check out some of these</a> cool vegan clothes from coats to handbags. <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/sellis/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:madgerly</a></em>

  • Eat Soup

    Arguably one of the best things about winter is cooking and eating soup. If you decide to make your own, try to use local, organic ingredients. To go one step further, why not make it meat-free? Try some of<a href="http://ecosalon.com/10-best-winter-vegetarian-soups/" target="_hplink"> these vegetarian recipes. <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nyc_xmas/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:Jose and Roxanne</a></em>

  • Museums

    When it is too cold outside for outdoor activities but you're itching to get out of the house, why not venture out to an art gallery or museum and treat yourself to some cultural and educational fun? Look into visiting an eco-friendly venue, such as The Museum of Natural History, which undertook a sustainability review in 1998, and as a result was able to implement eco-friendly practices, <a href="http://www.amnh.org/about/sustainability.php" target="_hplink">according to their website.</a> <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/coolinsights/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:coolinsights</a></em>

  • Paper Snowflakes

    A popular activity in for kindergarten age children and up, making paper snowflakes may not be the most eco-friendly way to decorate your home. However, try encouraging your children to gather old newspapers, magazines and books to make some recycled, interesting and unique decorations. <em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/emiline220/" target="_hplink">Photo courtesy of Flickr:Emily Carlin</a></em>

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