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How are folks doing on gifting green & holiday green in general this year?
Things happening around here:
*Some of our gifts are donations. Reducing waste and doing a good deed. I have made very sure that they are to charities that the person in question supports and will appreciate.
*Many of our gifts are used. I am VERY glad that used items have never been considered second-class in my family (and that I married someone didn't mind either, though it is not as common in his). Most of the gifts for my parents were purchased second hand. My in-laws less so, but used beer...just not a good idea! (My FIL likes odd micro-brews and such).
*Trying to use gift bags not paper. This is a hard one and I get pushback on it. Everyone wants to rip open paper. When I buy paper I'm trying to avoid the shiny stuff which often isn't recyclable, but it can be hard to tell. I DID save the really big pieces of paper from last year and used it to wrap gifts this year. That worked better than I expected. We do save tissue paper and reuse that from year to year.
*A group of us do a Happy Regiftmas before Christmas. Two rooms--one full of "like new" items, one full of not like new items. Bring what you don't want, take whatever you do--all free. It's a great way to save money, clean house, and lower the waste of the unwanted items--get them somewhere wanted rather than buying something else. Also means regifting avoids the stigma since the person actually gifting it has nothing to do with the original! We also took what was left and gave it to charity--the local children's hope was very pleased with the 4 boxes of mostly new gifts they received for the kids.
*Trying to give a few bigger nicer gifts rather than a bunch of little ones. Less items. Reducing is the best way to go green.
*Have a present box in which I put things through the year. Combined with the above "used is fine" attitude, it means when I spot something during the year second-hand, I grab it, put it in the box, and then I can FIND it come gift-giving time. Also means less gas during this time of year because I have less to shop for.
*Sending holiday cards only to folks we don't see. I am not willing to cut them out completely, because it is a good way to stay in contact with folks with a personal touch. Anyone I see often--not getting one, though. I buy cards during the year at rummage sales--there always seems to be a box with 3 cards left in it. I'd rather use those 3 cards rather than have them end up in recycling then have to buy cards!
*Picked up a free fake tree during the summer at a rummage sale, and have used it for the last 3 years. I know there is debate which is greener--buying a real tree each year or buying a fake one and using many years. However, I'm pretty sure grabbing an otherwise unwanted fake tree (headed for the dumpster since it hadn't sold) & using it is the greenest option.
What do you do for the holiday to make them red & GREEN?
" I know there is debate which is greener--buying a real tree each year or buying a fake one and using many years."
I didn't actually go out and try to be green. Just sort of happened. But my family and I will be using a live potted Pine my mother got last year. A) it's reuseable just like fake trees. B) We aren't cutting down a full grown tree. Just bringing a potted one in for a few days. C) Less waste after the holiday is over, because it's small and simple. No tinsle, or anything like that. Just a few reuseable cloth ribbons and mini-bells. Even decked out to it's fullest, the after holiday "waste" still couldn't fill 1/4 of a gabage. D) A smaller tree encourages you to spend less on presents, because there isn't that Big empty space under it to be "filled." It encourages you to "think simple."
Nothing super special, but it's something I guess.
My father used to tell us to use the comics from the Sunday paper to wrap gifts. So whenever someone would pull out the gift wrapped in newspaper from under the tree, we knew it was for him or from him ;-)
We don't get a newspaper here - in fact, I had to go the freecycle to get newspaper when I started up my worm bin for composting!, so what I do is when the openings are over, I go through the paper and save whatever can be saved. I then flatten it, and use it for smaller packages. The children enjoy looking at it and remembering what came in that paper, and seeing what tags are still there to see who it was from. If the paper is really torn up or wrinkled, etc., I recycle it.
The tissue paper that is used in the bag presents can be ironed and reused. If it's torn, cut straight across and you have a perfectly good sheet which is smaller.
We have used torn bags that are taped for family gifts, and so on. My little ones have even wrapped presents in their special blankets, for their big sisters :-) The sisters give them the blankets back, definitely :-) We live near Blue Bell Creamery, a big ice cream place, and have gotten some of their containers. Make sure they are cleran, and you can then use them as packaging. Find similar ones in your areas.
A few years ago, I made bags for all my sisters and our parents. I used them instead of giftwarp. I made them so that they could be reused, although none have shown back up over here, I hope they are using them at their homes!
For gift tags, last year I took some of the torn paper, and cut out the decorations on it. I made them about the right size for gift tags, and those are what we are using this year.
Our 4H had a food show recently, and I took some of the plastic that was being used to cover the tables. I just took the clean ones, and we have used those as paper, and also as tissue paper for bag presents.
Be inventive - it's fun!
Try decorating the tree with edible/biodegradible stuff. This year we used old-fashioned popcorn on a string, and since we had a batch of cookie dough that didnt turn out, I punched holes in them and strung them up on the tree. After Christmas, everything gets eaten by grateful birds.