Post Christmas Waste Solutions
Have you ever witnessed the large number of garbage bags and extra recycling waste after Christmas?
Christmas is a beautiful time of the year. Children are off school, and family and friends get together. It feels wonderful to give gifts to put a bright smile or excitement on a child’s whole body. But, what is the true meaning behind your gift-giving?
This recent Christmas, my kids pulled me into the livingroom so that they could excitedly open wrapped up presents. There was were many, many wrapped boxes. There were multiple gifts for my little ones. More than necessary, in my opinion.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving and getting stuff; however, let me ask you a question. What is your goal in getting someone something for Christmas? Is this a marketing mindset? Why does our culture promote or make gift buying and gift getting so central to the point of Christmas?
I am not going to get into the religious beginnings of Christmas in this post; rather, I want to talk about the point of the goal of gift giving, the impact of the gifts we choose, and what solutions there are.
I believe that we get gifts for people for two reasons. The first is to make us feel good because we think that the certain gift will cause great joy, excitement and happiness in someone else. This is very true for charities, for example. The second reason is to relieve any feeling of obligation or social expectation. So, said in other words, one reason brings us pleasure and the other is to avoid pain.
Now, let’s think about the first reason. You get a gift (or multiple gifts for a child). Let’s just say this child loves a certain book and certain toys. You drive out, purchase a doll, then another, and then some figurine, a book, etc… the domapmine level is high as you are making all these purchases, and your credit card bill is growing behind the scenes. Once these made-in-China, pre-packaged to sell items are bought, you excitedly wrap them in more gift paper, taping them up at the ends. You are so excited about the look on the face of this child when he or she rips up the one-time-use gift paper to reveal what’s underneath.
It is now Christmas Day, and the children are all excited about what they are getting for Christmas. They are handed one wrapped present. They rip it open, and depending on what it is, for a brief moment (several moments for things that they really want) they are estatic!
As they rip open another present and another, the wrapping paper now take up part of the living room. You need to find a garbage bag to contain the used gift wrap.
After all the presents are now open, they now need your assistance to open up the packed toys. You grab a pair of scissors or exacto knife to free the doll or the pieces of truck that are encaged by the heavy duty factory packaging to market and to safely deliver the toy to your child’s arms.
Now you have another pile of no longer useful packing material growing. Some of it is recyclable and some not. Rarely is any packaging compostable.
As I saw the heaps of waste before my eyes on Christmas day, I understood that we were just a small fraction of what was going on in our Western culture this day every year.
The garbage that we produce is our responsibility… And it gets passed onto our children, and their children.
When I took out the garbage, recycling and compost out that week, it seemed like we had three times as much waste as we would normally contribute… If other households were like us, then how many times would the waste collection truck need to dump and then come back for? How are we contributing to a nice future for our children and their children?
I think there are other ways in creating excitement during this time of year. I am going to share a few with you, and I would really appreciate your comments on the topic.
Five alternative eco-friendly Ways to wrap a gift:
1. Use the comics from a newspaper.
2. Use a shirt or bag and tie up with a reusable ribbon or bow.
3. Use a reusable gift box, and then the person can reuse it again the year after. Or if you want variety, you could may consider donating your reusablw gift boxes/bags to a thrift store and then also purchasing someone else’s donations.
4. Hide the gift and give clues like on a scavenger hunt. This can be a lot of fun!
5. Use the crafts that your kids make, used wrapping or use old covers of holiday cards.
Alternative gift ideas with less waste:
1. A box of cookies/food presented in a resuable tin or Mason jar.
2. A pre-loved toy.
3. A gift certificate from the heart to be redeemed for babysitting service, massage, home cooked meal, dog walking sevice or house cleaning depending on what you want to offer.
4. A song or poem written by you framed.
5. Money – this is by far the most practical gift, I think.
I think the best gift we can give to our children is an Earth that provides them with clean fresh air, strong mountains to climb, beautiful green trees, clean bodies if water and fruitful land. This is our home, and our grandchildren’s home.
Your meaning of Christmas is whatever you define it to be.
What do you think are the best gifts you can pass on to our children?