By Carly Harrill, Healthy Child Healthy World

The holidays are coming along with all of the trappings. As in visits with relatives. These can be tricky no matter what, but especially for those of us devoted to green living with relatives and beloved friends who are not. More often than not eco-families find themselves in an (organic) minority during the holidays. Faced with grandparents bearing toxic gifts or festive sibling dinners filled with artificial and even genetically modified ingredients, it’s hard not to feel alone.

In an effort to make you feel less alone, here are some thoughts on how families can stick to their eco-principles without starting a seasonal civil war. Sure, you could just grin and bear it for a few weeks or a few meals, but these are life-long relationships. And these occasions offer unique teachable moments—a chance to talk about concerns well worth sharing with those we love. You may have better luck with these conversations with your own mother than your mother-in-law. Be realistic. Some ideas:

If you prefer to let things slide in the interests of family harmony, that’s ok. Brief annual exposure to many products and materials is often not a big deal. A few days of synthetic cleaners or eating candy with food dyes likely won’t do lasting harm. The younger your kids, however, and/or the more toxic the material, less tolerance is prudent. Ultimately it’s a judgment call parents have to make. Remember to have these conversations with a smile and affection. It will make for a much happier new year.

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