WU member since Oct. 2005. I enjoy reading, crafts, crosswords, puttering in the yard, old movies and hanging out with my friends on WU.
By: palmettobug53, 2:04 PM GMT on December 17, 2011
"Don't tear the paper; we can save it for next year. Keep those bows. Save the boxes."
Every time I unwrap a present, Christmas or otherwise, I flash back to Christmases at my grandmother's house. The members of Mama's family were big believers in re-using the things that most of us throw out today, without a second thought.
Packages were opened very carefully. Wrapping paper was smoothed out and folded up. Bows were stored in bags. Boxes that held shirts, sweaters and lingerie were folded flat. All of it was stored until it was needed again. Nothing was thrown out until it had become too tattered to use again.
It wasn't an unusual occurence to unwrap a gift to find the ghosts of Christmases past in the remnants of scotch tape clinging to the boxes.
We even removed the strands of fhose foil icicles, when un-decorating the tree, untangled them and laying them by in boxes to reuse the next year. I hated that job!
I'm sure that most of the thrifty-ness stemmed from their having lived through the Great Depression and the economies of WWII. Their motto was "Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without." Not that we went as far as doing without Christmas presents but you know what I mean. It was a hard habit for them to break.
Even without the pressures of today's economy, it makes sense to 'green' your Christmas. It saves money, which is always a good thing, and it is also environmentally smart. There's less waste going into the landfills.
One way to green your Christmas is with the tree. You can opt for an artificial tree that can be used again and again. You can go with a live tree that will be planted after the holiday.
There are numerous ways to deal with a cut live tree after the holdiays. You can take it to your local landfill to be ground up for compost. You can place it in a back corner of your yard for birds to use as cover. You can re-decorate it outside with treats for your feathered friends. Some coastal areas have programs that use discarded Christmas trees to stabilize dunes, helping to ease beach erosion.
Use LED lights on your tree. They cost a bit more but last longer and use less electricity.
Tickets to theatre or sporting events
Passes to museums, parks
Memberships to gyms (Just make sure the recipient will use it!)
Live plants, cuttings and seeds.
Homemade gift certificates for things such as home cooked meals, transportation, babysitting, household repairs, etc. (The sky's the limit with this one.)
Pass on family heirlooms
Homemade fudge, brittle, candies, cookies, nut breads, etc.
Save those spaghetti sauce jars/lids and create soup mixes with dried beans/seasonings or hot chocolate or other dry beverage mixes or seasoned vinegars. Fill jars and cover lids with scrap material, add a bow and voila. Mix recipes can be found online.
Homemakde preserves, jams, jellies, relishes, etc.
Buy local; shop locally owned stores, farmers markets, arts and craft markets. Many farmers markets have vendors with locally produced crafts and specialty items.
If you do needlework, consider giving some of your handiwork as gifts.
Same thing with crafts; you can make jewelry, wreaths, placemats, etc.
Wreaths are especially easy to make. All you need is a basic form (foam, wood or grapevine), a glue gun and odds and ends to glue to it. Shells, small toys, odd pieces from games and toys, ornaments, artificial flowers/greenery.
Get plain glass ornaments and fill them with ribbons, sand, small toys, etc. Ideas are only limited by whether or not you can get something through the hole at the top.
Shop the thrift stores. They're good for gifts, as well as Christmas decorations. I was in one of my local thrifts this past week. They had wreaths, lights, bows, all kinds of Christmas knickknacks, toys in the original boxes, ornaments, etc. You may have to pick through things but you never know what you might find. I've found clothing with the store tags on them before. Just keep an open mind and browse.
Thrifts are also a good place to find wicker and wooden baskets to use in creating gift baskets. If they look a bit dirty, paint them. I picked up one the other day to make a fruit basket.
Wrap gifts using brown paper grocer bags. You can use crayons or colored markers to decorate them or use holiday stamps/colored ink. Add a brightly colored yarn bow and there you are. Let your children or grandchildren decorate the paper!
I've seen gifts wrapped with the funnies from the Sunday paper. Kids like this one.
What kind of ideas do you have for greening Christmas?
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Updated: 7:17 PM GMT on December 17, 2011