The holidays end for many with a mountain of paper, plastic, dead trees and general trash. While perhaps we can’t eliminate everything we can minimize the impact of the holidays on landfills and often help our budget as well as giving great gifts. All of this with a few choices!
For many people Christmas just isn’t the same with a fake tree. Buying a tree helps alternative farmers make a living and a “U cut” farm gets you outside to pick a special tree. Be sure to be considerate – some farms are marred when a person cuts a tree, then spies a “better” one, leaves the first and cuts down another. While the trees are there for purchase there is no need to be wasteful.
Another option is getting a smaller, live tree. The live tree then is later planted outside, but you also should make sure you have a place to put it after the holidays or live in an area it’s possible to dig to plant it! For those choosing a cut tree *use* your tree afterwards!
Avoid using the “fake snow” and other chemicals on your tree. After the holidays, take it to the back corner of the yard and either lay it down or have it cut up and made into mulch. The entire tree creates a little haven, just as fallen trees in the wild, for small animals and birds that take refuge within the branches. If you live in town where this isn’t possible – scout around for places to pick your tree up after the holidays for this purpose. Old Christmas trees can be useful!
Shopping online can save fuel and allows checking for prices without running all over town, saving you time too. Purchase closer to the source, allowing small entrepreneurs a share of the gift market normally reserved for corporate giants. This might be yarn from naturally raised sheep for a knitting or crochet crafter.
For the “person who has everything” consider passing your gift along to a charity such as the “Independence Fund,” “Wounded Warrior Project,” USA Cares” or “Heifer Project International”. These first three are excellent resources for donations of used wheelchairs, walkers and other products that can then be provided free to a veteran who needs them (not just at Christmas!).
An idea for a family struggling – a weatherization kit. Weatherstripping for around the doors and other small basic changes can save energy. Sweatshirts or sweaters allow people to turn down the heat a few degrees too.
Start a compost bin for those interested in gardening…much kitchen “waste” as well as that mulch from the tree can be composted and added to a garden or even container plants in the summer. Replacing our resources and as much as possible completely using those that we use can be a good thing.
Give less flash, pay more cash. Christmas is about caring and sharing, not who spends the most and make the most trash. Make memories and treasure those around you – they may not be here next year. Have a great holiday season!