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07-17-2004, 01:50 PM #1
Christmas ideas....less materialistic...
Each Christmas, Canadians spend an exorbitant amount of money on decorating, wrapping and presents. Consumer spending may be good for retailers but its excesses have negative impacts on our environment and take away from the true meaning of Christmas.
Here is a list of ideas, drawn from the experiences of Recycling Council of Ontario staff and one very helpful book (Under the Tree: Creative Alternatives to a Consumer Christmas by David and Elizabeth Morley, Seal Books, December 1990), which we hope will renew the meaning of Christmas as expressed in seasonal sayings such as Joy to the World, Peace on Earth, and Goodwill. Towards All. We hope they will help to make your holiday celebrations less materialistic, fun, and more meaningful!
Make Christmas stockings for adults as well as kids. Fill them with unwrapped gifts such as homemade cookies and candies, bottles of shampoo and other sweet smelling stuff, soaps in the shape of animals, dried herbs from your garden packaged in used glass bottles, a used book or two.
Give your own art. Paint a picture. Frame a photo you took. Write a poem or story on recycled paper. Put it on paper you've made yourself and illustrate it. Make earrings or other jewellery out of unique objects you've found.
Make jam or salsa, put it in old jars and tie a ribbon around the top. Or make bread, Christmas cake or decadent candies (such as truffles or peanut brittle) and package them in reusable cookie tins.
Make a gift from used materials like memo pads or journals out of used paper.
Give a "certificate" for a service to be performed by yourself (e.g., babysitting) or someone else (e.g., a massage). Or give a certificate for an outing such as a theatre, movies or dinner.
To teach the meaning of charity to young people, give a donation in their name to a charitable organization. Or give them the cheque and let them choose the charity.
Give a gift basket of toys or food to a needy family on someone's behalf. If you're doing this for the young people on your list, choose a family with kids their age and let them help select items for the gift basket.
Take cuttings from houseplants to make new plants that can be given away as gifts.
For the students on your list, buy a text book needed for the next semester or a long distance phone card.
Buy an acre of rainforest from the World Wildlife Fund; Adopt-a-Tree from the Western Canada Wilderness Committee; or donate money to an environmental organization.
Volunteer to serve dinner at a centre for the homeless. Buy a street person a pair of warm gloves or socks and personally give it to them.
Give humus that you have composted yourself. Buy or make a composting bin.
Look for reusable gifts over disposable gifts such as fountain pens, reusable canvas shopping bags, reusable lunch bags or reusable coffee mugs.
Promote an environmentally-benign mode of transportation by giving a transit pass or tickets, or bicycle equipment such as a helmet or rear-view mirror.
Sew gift bags out of colourful Christmas fabric to give as gifts.
Tips on Reducing and Reusing Wrapping...
Save last year's wrapping paper and bows for reuse.
Use newspaper or coloured comic pages.
Cut old cloth cut into a square. It can be used again or returned to you (the Japanese custom.)
Use a new tea towel, pillowcase or sew your own gift bags out of colourful Christmas fabric.
Decorating for Christmas...
Buy a potted Christmas tree that can be planted in the garden in the spring.
Buy a plastic Christmas tree that can be reused year after year which is cheaper and helps to reduce waste.
Decorate a tree outside, or decorate your home with Christmas ornaments and forgo the tree.
Make tree decorations out of food which can be composted afterwards or used materials. Some ideas: popcorn chains; cranberry wreaths; dried apple ring clusters tied together with a bright bow; gingerbread ornaments; snowflakes from used paper; a paper doll chain; used tin foil rolled into little balls and threaded together.
If you do decide to buy a real tree, many municipalities have Christmas tree recycling programs. Check to see if yours does.
Turn outside Christmas lights off when you go to bed to save energy.
Christmas Party Planning...
Reduce paper by sending out invitations via e-mail or over the phone.
If buying Christmas cards or party invitations, look for paper with post-consumer recycled content or vegetable inks.
Send leftovers home with guests in reusable containers or donate to social service agency.
If glassware/utensils/plates are limited, ask guests to bring their own instead of supplying disposable items.
07-17-2004, 02:06 PM #2
Great ideas here. Thanks so much for sharing this!
07-17-2004, 10:21 PM #3
- Rep Power
Thanks for the ideas Heather !
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07-17-2004, 10:24 PM #4
Great ideas, thank you
07-18-2004, 12:30 PM #5
07-19-2004, 12:38 PM #6
Oh I like this thread, this and Denise's have a lot to offer in terms of frugal and loving gift giving.
I want to kind of book mark these threads for future reference or something. Have to check how to do that. Don't want to lose them.
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