The holidays are fun but kinda wasteful

I think this year we’ve been striving to be greener than we ever have in the past.  It has really opened my eyes and has me noticing wasteful stuff left and right.  With the holidays are upon us, I feel this is particularly true lately.

I did a bunch of holiday shopping online this year.  I’ve been really good at keeping the one-time use bags down to a minimum, even reusing produce bags when I’m in a pinch.  But then I turn around and open the front door, and everyday there are a few boxes of stuff that I ordered.  Each box has packing material and another box with stuff in it.  It’s particularly frustrating when there’s a huge box for a small or soft item that could have been shipped in a mailing envelope.  To make matters worse, sometimes the e-tailers break up my orders in multiple shipments.  So instead of getting one big box from Toys R Us, I’m now getting four different shipments.  Logistically, I understand that in order to get my package to me by Christmas, they have to ship from multiple warehouses.  Really, I get it.  I just wish it wasn’t so wasteful.  At least I can recycle the boxes, right?

Once I unpack the box, I wrap it.  Sometimes it’s in an odd shape so then I put it in a Christmas-y bag.  With a bunch of foofy tissue paper with Santas on it.  You should see the MOUNTAIN of trash we generate at my mom’s at Christmas each year.  To make things a little better, we’ve agreed to only buy gifts for the little kids, of which there are now five.  Even then, there are SO many gifts.  And they rip through that wrapping paper and toss it aside.  Don’t get me wrong – I love wrapping gifts.  I could wrap gifts all day long.  But for the first time, I’m kind of feeling bad about it.  I try to re-use gift bags and shirt boxes whenever possible but I think starting next year, for our family gifts, we’ll use some decorative bags that we can reuse for christmas, birthdays, diwali, etc.

Outside of the gifts, there are the baked goods.  Oh how I love those baked goods.  But realistically, I shouldn’t be eating all those baked goods.  And I wonder how many of those treats I’ve made in the past get thrown out.

The holidays are so wonderfully magical because you get to do fun things like decorate and give gifts to loved ones and bake and share and eat treats.  And I don’t want this new green filter I have to ruin that so I think I’m going to really think about what adjustments I can make to help make the season a little greener without being sucky,  Yessir, that’s a technical term.

I also want to tell my friends and family that we’d love to have a green birthday party for Karina.  This means instead of buying a new gift with a ton of packaging, that they are welcome to bring a gift that was loved by their little one.  I have absolutely no problems with this.  A little lysol and we’re good to go.  Why send more trash to the dump before its time?  Why not use these toys til they can’t be loved no more?  We also would love to see people donate money to charity instead of buying more toys for Karina.  We’re lucky that we can afford to buy her things.  We’d love to see that $20 go to a charity that can do things like research cures for cancer or feed families.  I also want to instill the value of charity. giving and sharing with Miss K.  I don’t donate nearly enough time or money and surprise!  Here’s another way that my daughter can make me a better person.  I want to set a good example.

I was listening to NPR the other day and of course it got me thinking.  They had a spotlight on an organization called Heifer International.  The concept of this organization is that they not only buy a cow or a goat or a flock of chickens for a family in a poverty stricken nation but they provide training and education to teach how to use that animal to provide for their family.  How awesome is that?  The piece started off by talking to a grandpa who was talking to his daughter about how all the grandkids got so much stuff (junk) for Christmas that they didn’t even need.  So instead, he’s been giving a goat every year on behalf of every grandchild.  Maybe we could do this moving forward.  Instead of a mini motorized Hummer SUV for Miss K, maybe we could help a family somewhere.

So it looks like I got all crazy on this post again.  My point is that I think there are ways to modify traditions to make the holidays more meaningful without taking away from the fun.  I helped an old lady put her groceries in her car on Sunday.  It’s Tuesday and I still feel good about that little bitty act that took no more than a minute.  Maybe I oughtta be doing more of that instead of sending my husband a christmas wish list (which I did do, by the way).

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