I was trying to decide whether to write a post about the dual concepts of Love vs Like in a marriage, or about how to not be a planet-killing waste-machine during the holiday season, and I think I’m going to have to go with the latter.
I don’t have much time today and writing about Love vs Like would take two hours at least in order to explain what I mean, what with the writing and the editing and striking the right balance between not sounding cheesy but also not sounding like I hate my husband.
So, pack your bags kids! We’re going on a guilt trip!
1. Stop Using Wrapping Paper
I mean if you have some left over, use it, obviously. But if you are thinking about going out and buying new wrapping paper this year, don’t. Seriously, I will cut you.
What can you use instead? Oh just about anything! Cute cloth scraps, a reusable bag that can become part of the gift, a new tea towel, your husband’s ugly shirts you are trying to get rid of (cut them up first so he can’t steal them back) .
The whole point of wrapping a gift is less about disguising the contents and more about making it look cute and trendy, right? Well what’s more trendy than SAVING MOTHER NATURE?!
Seriously being “green” is hot right now so I don’t think too many people would cast you the side-eye if you wrapped your shit in newspaper, like I do.
I use comics for the kids, and have used yarn and buttons in place of bows in previous years. Everyone usually says it’s cute, and even if that really means “Oh my god you dirty hippie you couldn’t even spring for wrapping paper?!” my conscience is clean and I don’t have to shed a single tear on Christmas morning while looking at a pile of ripped and torn paper that you wasted $7.99 on just a few days earlier.
2. Give The Gift of Life (Too Cheesy?)
A few years ago I discovered the World Vision Gift Catalogue, and I think it’s one of the best gift ideas ever. It’s a catalogue filled with charitable donation selections, so that instead of giving someone a fucking body shop gift basket, you could give a family access to clean water.
Gifts start at just $10 and when you purchase something it usually gives you the option of mailing a card to the recipient, or printing little certificates which you can include inside Christmas cards you’re already mailing. I usually print the certificates to save them the postage.
This option also allows you to tailor the gift to the recipient, for example I have a friend who is a teacher so last year her Christmas gift was a classroom full of books. Another friend is a landscape architect, specializing in environmental restoration, so I paid to have an area restored to farmland after a drought. My grandaddy loves oatmeal so my mum bought one that would provide hot breakfasts for impoverished children.
I can’t stress enough how much I love this. First of all, who needs more stuff? Epecially when you could be paying for a child’s immunizations, or for a girl to go to school when she wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity.
AND you get to claim it on your taxes. It truly is the gift that keeps giving. (Plus how awesome would it be to say you got a GOAT for Christmas?!)
The Canadian site is here, the American one here.
3. Secret Santa, Set a Limit, or Gift Secondhand
This one will totally depend on how your family does Christmas, but within both Adam’s family and my own, within the past few years we have tried to shift the focus of Christmas from gift-giving to just celebrating.
We’ve done this usually through some combination of a Secret Santa, where instead of buying gifts for every family member, each person just draws one person to get a gift for, setting a limit to the amount that can be spent, or like this year, decreeing that all gifts have to be second-hand or handmade.
The Secret Santa idea really cuts down on the amount of time and money you have to spend shopping, especially when you consider that between Adam and I, we would have 21 individual people to buy gifts for. And that’s just immediate family. No deal.
The handmade/secondhand idea is an attempt to escape the orgy of consumerism that finds people camped outside a Best Buy three days in advance of a sale. It’s also an attempt to re-use, re-purpose and save the innumerable items sitting in stores without shiny new packaging, from going to the landfills.
Did you know that 90% of what you purchase will end up in a landfill six months from now? Does that make you sick?
4. Calm Down
You have enough. You will be okay. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Drink more rum and egg nog. Just relax and enjoy the moment. (Okay now I really do sound like a hippie. Maybe they’re actually onto something, man)
(P.S. You have until midnight tonight to enter the giveaway. Winner will be announced tomorrow.)