Monday, November 22, 2010

Less Holiday Waste

Every year around the holidays, I think about how blessed we are to have what we do. In doing that, it's important to be conscious of the waste that we create, especially during the holidays (I don't know about you, but it seems like we accumulate so much STUFF every single year).

Here's some thoughts on a less wasteful Christmas season, in plenty of time for you to change your habits starting right now!

From Country Living
  • Vintage documents (maps, sheet music, magazines, newspapers, book pages). Look in your attic, the junk drawer, a box in your basement...I'm sure you can find something that will work and look awesome.
  • Fabric scraps
  • Wallpaper
  • Gift bags from last year (seriously, where do all these go if you don't save them??) or the rest of the roll of wrapping paper you had to have 
  • Reusable packaging (give a loaf of bread in a bread pan, or cookies in a cute basket)


From Country Living
  • Reusable items such as Christmas ornaments, hair bows, or small toys (we do this, especially when we find a cute Christmas ornament that we think would be perfect for the recipient...it gets tied to the top of their gift)
  • Scarves
  • Natural elements (dried flowers, pine cones)
  • Bundled cinnamon sticks (how awesome would that smell? I'm definitely trying this one, though I'm not sure how the dog is going to react to that, and those gifts may go out of her little reach)

  • Old jewelry
  • Small stuffed animals or toys (how cute would this be in a child's bedroom?)
  • Cookie cutters (we hang a bundle of cookie cutters in the kitchen with a pretty red ribbon)
  • Toy cars (again, great for a kid's room...my nephew would love this)
  • Food stuff...again with the cinnamon sticks, stringing popcorn or cranberries, gingerbread cookies
After the holiday parties are done, gifts have been opened, and everyone heads back home before the turkey coma, take a little time to be green during clean-up.
  • Save the discarded gift bags that people don't take home for next year (see above).
  • instead of tossing the discarded wrapping paper, run it through a shredder...the shredding makes really great packing material for the next year (and it's coordinated!).
  • Recycle whenever you can...cans, paper, plastics, and so on
  • Use cloth cleaning towels
  • Don't let leftover food go to waste if you won't eat it. We always have too many cookies or an extra pie, so I'll give them to a neighbor who doesn't have much family, bring them to work (a nursing home) to share with the residents, or figure out a family from church or the community who needs a little boost (maybe someone who just lost a loved one, or who has a new baby, or who is recently out of work)
There's nothing in this list that will require a lot of extra work for you this holiday season. In fact, it may save you from making that extra trip to the store for another string of garland or roll of wrapping paper. You can be conscious of your level of waste without spending a lot of time or money.

Happy Thanksgiving Monday, all!


  1. Love it! Thanks, Jen. You reminded me of all those newspaper things they send me that I never wanted. Free giftwrap!

  2. Oh, good call Frank! Chinese menus would also be cute... :)