Have Yourself a Green Little Christmas

The season for giving is the season for making trash. It is the one aspect of Christmas that horrifies me, the spirit of Christmas is ruined with piles of trash and overflowing garbage cans. From toys of Christmases past that must make way for new play things to packaging and wrapping galore – trash day after Christmas finds bags and boxes of left over garbage. While Christmas trash is, unfortunately, inevitable there are things you can do to reduce the mounds of trash.

Here are a few things we do in our house to reduce the amount of trash my favorite holiday produces, I hope you will consider adopting some of these ideas for your Christmas.

  1. Nesting Boxes – A few years ago, my family adopted reusable wrapping for the bulk of our Christmas gifts. (This was before reusable shopping bags became vogue, little did we know how chic we were.) We purchased colorful, nesting Christmas boxes at Costco. Each family received a different patterned set and every Christmas we “wrap” each other’s gifts in these boxes. Not only does it save trash, but it saves TONS of time. We just pop open the boxes, plop in the gift and instant pretty. Christmas morning after all of the gifts have been unwrapped, the boxes are re-nested and stored for the next year. (These aren’t Christmasy, but these nesting boxes from Amazon are super cute.)
  2. Reusable Bags – For non-family members (who don’t have their own set of nesting boxes), try reusable bags for your wrapping. Instead of making trash, encourage others to go green by wrapping their gift in a reusable shopping bag. Double duty. ChicoBags has a line of specially designed holiday bags with winter scenes that are perfect for this purpose.
  3. Recycle the packaging. Why do toys have to be sealed in packaging tighter than Fort Knox? There’s nothing worse than taking 15 minutes to free Barbie while your child begs to play with her new doll! The only good news is that a lot of this excess packaging is recyclable. Yes it’s true. You’ll have to check your local recycling program, but in my area curb side includes all forms of paper – that includes toy boxes, backing packaging and more. Plus have you noticed the recycle symbol on the plastic wrapping that shields Barbie? That’s not there for looks, it’s there because that packaging can be recycled with your milk jugs.
  4. While on the subject of recycling… For all those gifts that come in wrapping paper, you can recycle the wrapping and tissue paper too. Yep, it’s true.
  5. Do not. I repeat, do not throw old toys in the trash. This practice will never cease to make me ill as I drive through my own neighborhood and see perfectly good things thrown away in the trash. Find your old stuff a new home. There are so many people who are less fortunate than yourself, especially this year, so I guarantee that someone can use your old “stuff.” Here are a few items rescued from the trash in the last month: wicker basket, bouncy seat, musical infant thingy and more — all donated to a local family in need.

So, have yourself a merry little Christmas and think about how you can make your Christmas just a little more green. 🙂

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