My family loves Christmas time! We are those people.
Every year, just before Halloween (yes, I said just before) we start to get itchy. Can we listen to the Christmas music yet? Put up the lights? Start baking cookies?
If you are the person who thinks stores should wait until after Thanksgiving to put out their Christmas stuff, we are the people that irritate the heck out of you… standing in the new holiday displays in mid-October trying on Santa hats and singing, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”
It’s not that we don’t love the other autumn holidays. In fact, autumn is wonderfully festive at our house. We trick or treat on Halloween, celebrate a birthday in October and 2 more in November and we always look forward to a big family feast on Thanksgiving.
It’s just that Christmas is so fun. It’s a complete delight to the senses! The smell of pine and fresh baked goodies, the sight of the beautiful lights and decorations, the taste of a dozen different holiday treats, the sounds of the music, the feel of coming into a warm, cozy house after putting up decorations in the chilly outdoors.
And, as Christians, it’s an exciting time of year in terms of our faith, too. Christ is born! God is with us! There is hope! If you are a believer and you really listen to the words of the Christmas songs you can’t help but get the chills.
So, you see…. we are those people.
Now that you know that, I can admit this: Christmas is a very hard time to be green. There are food colorings, artificial flavors and GMOs, wrapping paper, batteries, electric lights and… ugh… the bane of every parent’s existence… plastic packaging!
I applaud those who are so dedicated as to be “zero waste” during the holidays. Truly, you guys are awesome and an inspiration. But I guess I’m just not there yet and, judging by the number of plastic Santa lawn ornaments I see, I don’t think most other folks are either.
Still, there are some ways that you can reduce your red and green carbon footprint over the next several weeks. In Part One of this multi-part series I’m going to suggest that you can save yourself enough cash to keep yourself in peppermint latte for the month by not buying wrapping paper.
In the US there are FOUR MILLION TONS of trash from gift wrap and shopping bags each year! (source) A lot of wrapping paper is made from recycled materials and is recyclable, certainly if you’re in a rush choosing the paper made from recycled paper is a better option, but the recycling process still takes a lot of resources. Reduction is always the gold standard!
Consider a few of these ideas from people far more clever and talented than me. (click the photos to view the source and see just how they did it):
What else have you used as instead of traditional gift wrap?
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!