We are consumers in this country. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, it’s estimated that Americans will generate an additional 1 million tons of trash. That’s a lot of trash. If you’ve driven by (or live by) a landfill, they are so disgusting. They fill up fast and they stink. The eyesore is a true reminder of what consumers we are. It’s definitely something I’m working on in my life.
As a mom, it’s a hard task though. It feels like every time you turn around, people are giving your kids trinkety crap that you end up throwing out a week later. This reinforces the use it and lose it mentality that’s only getting worse in the next generation.
We’ve recently been listening to the Little House books, and it never ceases to amaze me what little they had, yet how happy they still were. The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you. You have to store it, clean it, organize it, insure it etc. We really could learn to do with less.
Even though I don’t buy into the whole “climate change” thing (this is mostly because I don’t have a private jet though 🤷♀️😂), I do believe that God wants us to be good stewards of the beautiful planet He has given us as our home for the time being. That means that we should try to stay away from things that are dangerous to plants, animals, and people. We should also work to be using less and having less. With all that, let’s talk about some easy things you can do to make this Christmas a little more friendly to the planet (and your wallet too).
Don’t buy gifts. I mean it, unless you really know what someone wants, stop buying that sweater or those mittens, or that partridge in a pear tree. Well, you get the drift. Only buy gifts for people that you know they will truly want and enjoy.
If you do buy gifts, opt to buy used instead. We bought our children some instruments this year and you better believe I bought each of them used. I kept an eye on marketplace for weeks to find a good deal on what I’m looking for. I do this for clothes too. I have no qualms about giving, or receiving used gifts.
Buy non-physical gifts. Memories are way better than the material, and they last a lifetime too. Be creative and think outside the box. This Christmas, my nephews are getting a ticket to Legoland and my kids are getting tickets to the Shedd Aquarium. Really consider what that person might enjoy doing with you or with a loved one. Some ideas for memory-focused gifts include:
- Tickets to a sporting event, concert, or other special event
- Lessons – snowboarding, dance, etc.
- A special dinner out
- Zoo or Aquarium pass
- Pass to a children’s museum
- Online lessons in art, robotics, etc.
There really are so many different options here, just think about the person, what they enjoy or have mentioned in the past, and go from there.
I burn all of our paper trash. This includes everything from used tissues and toilet paper rolls, to delivery boxes and all cardboard and paper in between. When you consider Christmas, it’s so easy to burn things like boxes, wrapping paper, paper plates, and the list goes on. This kind of stuff often ends up in the landfill and just sits there. Have a nice bonfire on New Year’s Eve and burn all that trash.
So much food waste ends up in the landfill which is a true shame. If it’s natural and will break down, throw it in your compost pile. From pumpkins to turkey carcasses, it will break down. Composting is not only better for the environment, but it’s great for your garden as well. This spring, we spread our compost onto our garden, and I had squash, pumpkins, and tomatoes that all grew from seeds in the compost, and they grew better than the plants that I had planted! Again, food waste ends up in the landfill and just sits there rather than returning to nourish the earth.
I can’t tell you how much less trash we have from doing these few things. Most weeks, our family of 5 only has 1 bag of trash. It really isn’t that much extra and knowing I’m being a good steward of what God has so graciously given us is worth it for me.
Do you have any other tips on how to have a more eco-friendly Chrsitmas?