Earth Day (April 22) is not like other holidays. For most holidays, parents and teachers head to dollar stores or Oriental Trading Company and purchase foam craft projects, plastic, and non-recyclables. Incredulously, people also celebrate Earth Day with such disturbing items. Here's a list of things that really should never be part of an Earth Day celebration.

1. Send Up Balloons

Balloons are a gut reaction decoration — who doesn't like balloons? But helium balloons at an Earth Day celebration is a non-starter. Balloons float into the atmosphere and eventually pollute the sky, mess with birds, and might fall over the ocean adding to the plastic vortex in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

2. Plant a Tree

Huh? That's right. Put that seedling down. People often plant trees that aren't native to the area in which they're planting. Or they don't quite think through who is going to take care of and water the plant to make sure it grows into a full-fledged tree. If you aren't willing to be its overseer for the next 20 years, don't plant it.

Don't plant a water-hogging tree in a drought area, either! If you want to plant something, talk to environmental groups in the area, or check guidelines at the Arbor Day Foundation website to find out what is native to your area and what isn't. Planting a non-native species can quickly turn into a problem if the trees begin to over take native species in your area. Think Eucalyptus trees run amok in California (they're native to Australia).

3. Depend on Plastic

Ban the plastic. Have the kids think about a world without plastic bottles. You know, before the nineties people went about their days without plastic bottles attached to themselves. Get the kids into drinking water from the tap. 

If you are planning a celebration with take-home goodies, make sure they are not plastic and will wind up in a landfill. Give away only biodegradable products. Or better yet — make items for Earth day out of natural products. How about making wreathes from branches and twigs you find? Plant seeds in egg shells that will biodegrade when you plant them. The kids will enjoy it and you won't have to answer ironic questions about the plastic!

4. Travel

Crazy, right? Traveling is one way we leave our carbon footprint on the planet. Instead of going on a trip or to a park, focus on nature in your own backyard or within walking distance of your houses. You can show kids that nature is, after all, all around in one way or another

5. Make Cupcakes

For just the day, stay away from the processed food and focus instead on natural organic foods. Make desserts from fruit. Sure, the white icing cupcakes with the blue and green Earth on it look inviting and appropriate, but what is really natural and "back-to-Earth" about it? (Disclosure: I love cupcakes.) How about a bowl of fresh strawberries with homemade whipping cream instead?

Earth Day is a great day to remind ourselves of our collective home and that we need to take responsibility for it. Kids can spot irony a mile away. Make it an irony-free holiday.