Waste not, this Christmas

I took out our trash and recycling on Monday night. Oh my goodness me. How can one little family over one little holiday, make so much waste?

And then I looked down the street and realized, we are not alone.

Do you know that Americans throw away 25% more trash from Thanksgiving to New Years than any other given time of year. That equals about 25 million tons of trash.


I know, you are all already in the midst of outrageous to do lists and holiday hoopla, but maybe just for one minute, stop and think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. What if instead of more stuff, you encourage more activities, more ceremony, more community, more crafting, more ritual, more sleep, more spirit. Really, don't roll your eyes. right now - think about it.

If the holiday hoard fest is something you are not willing or able to simplify this year, here are a few ideas for at least reducing the amount of waste that will have to be schlepped away when all the merriment is over.

#1 Holiday cards
This was a hard one for me to change. I love paper. I love addressing envelopes. I used to design wedding invitations for crying out loud. But the one thing that always got to me, was how much went straight into the trash (or recycling bucket). So, as the mother of a 9 month old last year, I did it. I sent out this, my first electronic holiday card. It took a few takes in the photo booth. If you want to see the bloopers, click here

And you know what, I loved it. I loved every part of.

Unexpected pro:
People actually emailed us back with holiday greetings or suggestions for getting together in the new year, which we actually planned.

Unexpected con:
Not seeing our card on the display of holiday cards at friends' houses. But I got over that.

#2 Wrap
Please oh please, think about using something other than new paper. The possibilities are endless!
Old maps
Paper grocery bags
Fabric remnants
Your children's drawings
Cloth bags like this one...

Reusable gift bag from Quotes + Notes

It can be an investment the first year you embrace using cloth bags, but they get used over and over again.

Gift tags like these...

For tutorial, click here

A great way to use scrap fabric that I am sure you have lying around somewhere. You can also use scraps of holiday wrap or everyday wrap - you know those little pieces that aren't really big enough for another gift, but you just don't want to throw it away.

The idea comes from Inchmark, the blog. If you don't know it, oh, please go look. It's one of my favorites.

#3 Packaging
This is hard because I have gotten really good at online shopping, which means more boxes, packaging, carbon footprint. But I balance it will shopping on places like Etsy that supports handmade and shopping at local stores, both new and resale.

Do you have any ideas for reducing waste this holiday season?

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