Even as a kid, I had mixed feelings about the paper waste generated. I loved the bright, beautiful Christmas wrapping paper as much as I went happily nuts over the gifts from Santa. I would beg my Mom to let me save the prettiest for my crafts box tools. I hated watching her burn up all the used wrapping paper in the fireplace.
But it does not have to be like this. You can have a festive, gift-filled, decoration-filled and colorful holiday without stressing your budget or the planet! Here are some tips to "go zero-waste" at Christmas and be light on the earth (and the landfills) without feeling deprived:
While live trees grown on farms do add oxygen to the air and absorb CO2, they take tens of thousand of gallons of water to grow. Added that most folks do not compost their trees, you have a lot of added landfill. Fake Christmas trees can be reused after year, they are usually made of toxic plastic that eventually ends up in the landfill and waterways. Why not get creative and make a "tree" out of something different?
Approximately 4 million tons of paper gets wasted on holiday gift-wrap alone. While much of this paper can be recycles, paper with glitter, sparkles or metalics cannot. Why not grt creative and reuse other paper to to wrap your gifts?
Furoshiki is the Japanese art of wrapping items in fabric. Talk about reusable! I don't think anyone can argue that the fabric-wrapped gifts above are dull and un-festive! You can wash and re-use the fabric year after year. Even better? Make the cloth a a gift as well, like a dishtowel or a scarf!
My mother bought this adorable Advent calendar over 25 years ago from the Boston Museum of Modern Art. It show no sign of wear and, miraculously, none of the cloth Creche figures have been lost! It strikes me that one could make a similar-style calendar, but fill the pockets with candies or other small goodies.
Humans crave love, time and attention more than anything bought in a store. Give the gift of an experience you can share together over lots of cheap, plastic stuff. My boyfriend makes custom coupons for his nephews and God-children every year for "A Day With Uncle Jason: Good for One Meal at Your Favorite Restaurant, Your Choice of a Movie, and an Excursion to the Bookstore for One New Book".
(OK- the book is a thing, but it's a part of the whole time with Uncle Jason deal)
Some ideas for gifting experiences:
-Theater tickets to a live play
-Going up in a hot air balloon
-A cooking class (kids or adults)
-"Good for One Hour With Mom/Dad" coupon
-A "Get Out Of One Chore " coupon.
-A "Control The Remote" for one evening
-Bird watching expedition
-Go to the Beach Picnic, Food Provided
-"Be a Tourist In Your Own Town For The Day"
...and the list of ideas goes on and on and on!
Merry Christmas! -Deb