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Merry, Bright and Green

Merry, Bright and Green

This morning began like so many others. A quick shower, a peek at the morning newscast, a couple of sips of coffee, smooches all around and I was off to work. I was zipping along the road, ready for a new day when kablaam! That’s when I saw it. A home with windows sprayed with faux-snow and strung up with glittery garlands. And, as a finishing touch, there was still a Halloween pumpkin on the front porch. What?! The “holiday season” seems to get longer and more out of control every year doesn’t it? Now, don’t get me wrong, I love what the holidays represent: the spirit of giving, the gathering ‘round of our loved ones, the sharing with our community. The mere thought of it brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart! But…then there’s that other side of the holidays. You know, the tense, high-pressure, stressful, unending cycle of spend, wrap, unwrap, throw away, repeat, consume, waste, and all with not a second to think or breathe—sound familiar? That’s the side of the holidays I’d like to do without, thank you very much. It feels like it is much harder to try to be green at the holidays than at any other time of the year. So, what’s to do then? How do we make our holidays merry and bright and yet still stay true to our green values? Here are some tips that will help you do just that.

First up is the easy stuff. Of course, we all know we can recycle! Get a good recycling plan in place for every holiday gathering and make sure everyone knows what goes where. These days, thank goodness, recycling is nearly second nature to most people, so your guests will know what to do once you’ve shown them your set up. And don’t forget to compost!

Next is to try to minimize the amount of disposable stuff that you’ll be using. Just say no to throwaway utensils & tableware whenever you can. If you must though—and who among us hasn’t had to at one time or another—try to choose those made of recycled or sustainable materials. Many stores carry products that are made from bamboo, recycled plastics, or compostable/biodegradable materials. These products are durable and good-looking, perfect for your holiday party guests to pile their yummies on.

Which brings me to the next tip: get those edible goodies local! Whenever you can try to purchase the food you’ll be serving for your holiday celebrations from local sources. Buying food that is grown or raised near you greatly reduces the carbon emissions that are produced by the planes, trains and trucks that would otherwise transport those items to you , sometimes over many thousands of miles. Take advantage of the bounty on offer at your local farmers markets, often an excellent source for sustainably raised meats as well as fruits and vegetables. Another added benefit of buying local is that you’re investing your money right back into our communities!

Thinking about decorating the outside of your home with a creative lights display this year? You can and still be eco-conscious with solar LED lights! Using solar lights for your decorations is a fun, easy and green way to get into the holiday spirit. The lights require no power source—just position the panel in a spot that gets at least three hours of sun per day—so there are no dangerous and unsightly wires dangling about and no distressing spike in your monthly electricity bill. LED lights last thousands of hours longer than traditional bulbs so you’ll be able to get years of use from them.

Perhaps you want to rethink gift wrapping all together this year. There are a few ways you might do this. If you want to go a more traditional route and get the “wow effect” of a pile of wrapped gifts, many companies make wrapping papers for all occasions out of recycled and sustainable materials now and they are becoming more widely available. Or you could get more creative and make a theme out of it. Giving a cookbook to your sister? You could wrap it in a lovely teatowel and tie it all up with a reusable cloth ribbon. I love to use pretty towels for gift wrapping—its like getting two gifts instead of one!

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“Dear Matt,You must be so proud of your men! They were fantastic to have around. Polite, courteous and hardworking. I am so pleased with the outcome of our home--in fact, I couldn't be any more pleased than I am!”

— Mrs. S
San Leandro

“Our paint crew did a great job and the foreman, Gersson was exceptionally great to work with. He was always available to answer questions, good at problem-solving, very patient, kind, and highly professional with great customer service. We definitely recommend this company, and Gersson and his crew.”

— Andrea Y.
Berkeley, CA

“Awesome work by highly experienced, professional painters. They were: Conscious about the amount of time it would take. Ours had a lot of pre-work and took 3 weeks. Accommodating when we added a few last-minute changes Understanding when a heatwave hit and we remove some of the plastic sheeting over windows, which they had to put back up the next day. Accessible, especially the on-site crew (Hi Jose & Victor!) -- always answering questions and checking in. The end result is a perfect paint job that makes our 94-year-old house look brand new. I would definitely hire MBJ again”

— Stacey R.
Oakland, CA

“I had my wooden kitchen cabinets painted white. Anabal and Danielle were doing the job. I have nothing but praise for them. They came on time, cleaned up every day, were respective, friendly and helpful. If the rest of Jessee's crew are as great as Anabal and Danielle, this company will go far.”

— Anni S.
Oakland, CA

“My entire experience with MB Jesse was very professional. The crew were very friendly and super accommodating of my ridiculous schedule and geriatric pets in the house. The finished product, which was pretty much my entire house, far exceeds my expectations. Would definitely work with them again!”

— Heather Jordan

“The completed 'Client Satisfaction Survey' we sent in only modestly reflects our total satisfaction with the work. As a retired small business owner, I compliment you on setting 'best practices' that are consistently followed. Everything described in your marketing materials was a reality! The crew is a super bowl team and our neighbors commented on how quiet they were. We are very happy to be a client of MB Jessee.”

— Richard
Orinda

“In September, MBJessee finished painting two sides of our 3-story condominium building (six owners). We were impressed by the professionalism of the company and every one of its workers, Matt Jessee couldn't have been more helpful in planning the project. His painters were well-trained, easy to communicate with and eager to please. In addition to painting the stucco, they made extensive repairs on windows and frames, which will save us considerable money in the future. They finished earlier than anticipated, with as many as five men working on the job, and the scaffolding came down the next day. All of us were delighted with the results. Now my husband and I are looking forward to having MB Jessee paint our own apartment later this month. Matt and Gustavo (who will be our crew leader again) have explained how they will work to make the painting proceed smoothly while we're living here, and they have been endlessly patient with our protracted decision-making process. If you look at their website, you'll learn that MB Jessee is an exemplary company that takes good care of its workers as well as its customers, and contributes public service projects to the community. All in all, we can't recommend MB Jessee highly enough.”

— Jayne W.
San Francisco, CA

“I cannot imagine finer painters--and I have worked with many. They work exceptionally hard. It is a joy to see their workmanship!”

— Alicia R.
Oakland

“Very easy to work with, they did an outstanding job with our project of re-painting our painting our kitchen cabinets. Given the scope of the job and that our kitchen is roughly half of our upstairs living area they did a fantastic job of minimizing the mess. Workmanship was top notch, would definitely recommend.”

— Vince Scola

“The entire MB Jessee team is courteous, efficient and professional. From scheduling and estimating to the crew managers and crew, they all did an excellent job on a small (but complicated) two room project in my house. I'm already thinking about getting them scheduled for the next project in the spring.”

— Cari Cheney

“The kitchen looks NEW! You guys are amazing.”

“The painters at MB Jesse are top notch! Cesar's team was super friendly and helpful. They were very polite and accommodating. Their expertise in everything painting related was evident in their attention to detail and efficiency painting tricky spaces. The apartment looks brand new!”

— Adam Swisher